1970 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
3 32
Bob Kelly
Selected by Philadelphia from Oshawa (OHA)
Philadelphia Flyers Oshawa Generals
Bob Kelly

5-foot-10, 190 pounds

Left-hand shot

Left Wing

Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1967-68 Toronto OHA 2 0 0 0 4
1968-69Oshawa OHA 54 21 23 44 128
1969-70 Oshawa OHA 53 21 31 52 117

Pre-Draft Notes

Spent most of 1967-68 season in Jr. B with Westclair York Steel team.
Canadian • Born November 25, 1950 in Oakville, Ontario • Hometown: Port Credit, Ontario

Career Vitals

First contract: 1970
Debut: October 10, 1970
(Philadelphia vs. Minnesota)
Final NHL game: November 14, 1981
(Washington at Hartford)
Retired: 1981
Stanley Cup: 1974, 1975
Numbers worn: 9 (Philadelphia);
24 (Washington)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: Philadelphia, Washington
Years: 1970-1981. Playoffs: 1971-1980

Regular Season
12 years 837 154 208 362 1,454
Stanley Cup Playoffs
9 years 101 9 14 23 172
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Career Highlights

Scored his first NHL goal against goaltender Roger Crozier during Philadelphia's Nov. 8, 1970, game at Buffalo. ... Set Philadelphia record (since tied) for fastest goal from the start of a period by scoring eight seconds into the second period vs. Minnesota on March 12, 1972. ... Scored Stanley Cup-winning goal just 19 seconds into the third period in Game 6 of 1975 Stanley Cup Finals on May 27, 1975, at Buffalo. The goal gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead in game the Flyers went on to win 2-0. Kelly had just been inserted onto the Flyers' top line with Bobby Clarke and Reggie Leach when he scored. Clarke set up the goal from behind the net when he jumped in to break up a scrum between Kelly and Sabres defenseman Jerry Korab. With Clarke in Korab's way, Kelly was freed up to move to the front of the net and score. ... Played on Philadelphia team that lost to Montreal in 1976 Stanley Cup Finals. ... Led Philadelphia with 19.8 scoring percentage in 1977-78. ... Played on Philadelphia team that set NHL record with 35-game unbeaten streak from Oct. 14, 1979, to Jan. 6, 1980. ... Played on Philadelphia team that lost to N.Y. Islanders in 1980 Stanley Cup Finals. ... Left Philadelphia in 1980 ranked fourth in franchise history for career penalty minutes (1,285). ... Scored a career-high 26 goals and a career-high 62 points as a 30-year-old with Washington in 1980-81. ... Led Washington in shooting percentage (21.1) in 1980-81. ... Played on Washington team that competed in Sweden's 1981 DN Cup tournament and had one goal in four tournament games.

The 1976 Playoff Incident

On April 22, 1976, Kelly became part of the wider controversy surrounding Philadelphia's first-round playoff series vs. Toronto when he was criminally charged with assault for an incident that took place during Game 6 of the Flyers-Maple Leafs series at Maple Leaf Gardens. A week prior, in Game 3 at Toronto, Flyers teammates Don Saleski, Joe Watson, and Mel Bridgman had engaged in an ugly incident with Toronto fans that led to criminal charges against all three. The province of Ontario had vowed to crack down on hockey violence and treat players the same way they would treat individuals who assaulted others outside the rink. With tensions already high, Kelly added to the drama during a game that featured an NHL playoff record of 185 total penalty minutes -- 12 more than Game 3. The whole game was an ugly event, and Philadelphia coach Fred Shero would later blame obnoxious Toronto fans for inciting his team. Flyers players accused one fan of trying to injury Philadelphia enforcer Dave Schultz with an elbow to the head as Schultz went onto the ice. In the second period, following a fight on the ice, Schultz also argued with fans while he was in the penalty box. This raised red flags for his teammates, who recalled what had happened to Saleski when a fan taunted him one week earlier. The Flyers players rushed over to the penalty box to help Schultz deal with the fans, and
Kelly threw his glove toward a particularly hostile fan seated near the box. Unfortunately, the fan dodged the glove, and it ended up hitting Gardens usher Jan Brown, whose husband happened to be NHL linesman John Brown. On April 23, the fan who had been accused of elbowing Schultz was charged with assault, but Kelly was also charged with assault for hitting Jan Brown with his glove. On April 25, Kelly publicly apologized to Brown: "I threw the glove at somebody else, and she was hit." said Kelly. "I just want her to know that I'm very sorry about it. They have a film of me throwing it, but I didn't mean to hit her." The province of Ontario pressed ahead with its charges against Kelly, lumping the case in with the Saleski-Watson-Bridgman incident a week earlier. The case dragged on for months, and a two-day preliminary hearing was held in mid-October 1976, and a Nov. 8 trial date was set, even though Jan Brown had asked that charges against Kelly be dropped. Because of the NHL schedule, the Nov. 8 trial was postponed until June of 1977. The case never made it that far. On April 15, 1977, just a few hours before the start of Game 3 of a 1977 playoff series between the Flyers and Leafs, an Ontario judge announced that Kelly had pleaded guilty to assault and was fined $200 (in lieu of five days in jail). He also issued rulings related to the other three Flyers players.  Incredibly, at the time of these rulings, the Maple Leafs led the playoff series 2-0. Once the case was closed, the Flyers went on to win the next four games, including Games 3 and 4 at Toronto, to take the series.


100th Playoff Game:May 22, 1980
(Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Islanders)

Transaction History

Sept. 11, 1968 -- Traded by Toronto (OHA) with Rick Kessel, Tom Foxcroft, Chuck Gyles, and Bob Smith to Oshawa in exchange for Dale Tallon. May 23, 1972 -- Signed WHA contract (later voided due to August 1972 court ruling) with Chicago Cougars. Aug. 21, 1980 -- Traded by Philadelphia to Washington in exchange for future considerations (1982 third-round pick, Bill Campbell).

The WHA Controversy

Kelly made headlines in May 1972 when he became one of the first players to jump from the NHL to the WHA, and the first to sign with the rival league's Chicago Cougars. On May 23, the Cougars announced that Kelly had signed a contract with them for their inaugural 1972-73 season and was the first player officially on their roster. However, the Philadelphia Flyers immediately challenged the deal, saying he had already signed a 1972-73 contract with them earlier in the day before the Cougars' announcement. The Cougars threatened to sue the Flyers over the issue. As it turned out, the entire WHA deal had been orchestrated by a sports agent named Howard Casper, who had enticed Flyers players Kelly, Bill Flett, Brent Hughes, and Dave Schultz into jumping to the WHA as a negotiating ploy against the Flyers. The four players had gone to Quebec City to meet with WHA owners, and while they were there, they all agreed to sign WHA contracts. This led to a long period of litigation that ended with an August 1972 ruling that the WHA contracts were not valid. Kelly, however, benefited from the experience, as he and the others were able to negotiate more lucrative deals with the Flyers. Kelly's two-year deal was finalized in June 1972, two months before the court ruling ended the WHA's bid to keep him and the others under contract.

Significant Injuries

Missed remainder of 1974 playoffs, including entire 1974 Stanley Cup Finals, with partially torn ligaments in knee, an injury suffered when he was checked by Ron Harris during Game 3 of Philadelphia's Stanley Cup semifinal series at N.Y. Rangers on April 25, 1974.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: Robert James Kelly
Nicknames: "The Hound", "Hound", "Hound Dog", "The Mutt"

Front-Office Career: Worked as Philadelphia (Roller Hockey International) Vice President of Sales and Marketing from 1994 to 1996, when team folded. ... Named one of Philadelphia's full-time Ambassadors of Hockey prior to 2012-13 season and currently holds this position.
Kelly on LinkedIn

Career Beyond Hockey: Returned to the Philadelphia area and went into the construction business after retirement, eventually owning a roller rink in his home city of Newark, Del. Also remained active in the Philadelphia Flyers alumni, appearing at many charitable functions on behalf of the team.


Selected by Chicago Cougars in 1972 WHA Draft -- the first-ever WHA Draft -- in February 1972. Never played a game in the minor leagues, jumping from junior to NHL for next 11 years. Played on line with Bobby Clarke for Philadelphia in both 1970-71 and 1971-72. Was butt of an elaborate Flyers joke called the "snipe hunt" as a rookie in 1970-71 season.
Feared fighter and key member of Philadelphia's intimidating  "Broad Street Bullies". Played on line with Jean Pronovost and Dennis Maruk for Washington in 1980-81. Was relegated to bench with Washington due to team's youth movement in 1981-82. Had two-plus years left on his contract when he was bought out by Washington in 1981.
Worked in building demolition business during off-seasons of his early playing days. Played on Philadelphia's off-season charity softball team during his days with Flyers. Played for Flyers Alumni team in 2012 Winter Classic outdoor Alumni Gamein Philadelphia. Works as instructor at Flyers-related youth hockey clinics  as part of his ambassador role.
Total Selected: 115
Forwards: 67
Defense: 36
Goaltenders: 12
Major Junior: 87
College Players: 18
Canadian: 109
Euro-Canadian: 0
American: 6
European: 0
Reached NHL: 62
Won Stanley Cup: 12
Hall of Fame: 3
All-Star Game: 11
Year-end All-Star: 4
Olympians: 2
Picks Traded: 13


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