Dan Kelly and his son John "work" a St. Louis Blues hockey video game together in 1969. Post-Dispatch record photo

Legendary Blues announcer Dan Kelly was just 52 as soon as he died on Feb. 10, 1989. Post-Dispatch columnist Kevin Horrigan reflected on the broadcasting icon.

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Dan Kelly constantly had a terrible method to market hello. Maybe that"s one reason why it"s so terribly difficult to say goodbye.

""Geez,"" he"d say, ""that"s one ugly shirt."" Or, ""Where the hell have actually you been?"" Or, ""What"d you write that story for? You yes, really think that was a good idea?"" ""Nice to watch you, too, Dan,"" you"d say. ""Heard your broadcast the other night. You recognize they"re doing part marvelous points with speech treatment now. And also my old French teacher called. She wonders why you still can"t pronounce Yvan Cournoyer"s name.""

Kelly"d laugh and also shake his head. Another day, one more round of mock insults, one more round of golf, an additional hockey game, another great time, an additional Martini, another Chinese dinner or another steak, the best on the menu, scorched on the outside, rare on the inside, another Benedictine & Brandy with the coffee.

Kelly, the irascible Irishman who broadcast the Blues games for 21 years, died Friday morning. He was offered only 52 years, however he obtained every minute"s worth out of them.

His location in broadcasting"s pantheon is assured; there was never anyone better. But as great a broadcaster together he was, the was far better company. If you acquired past the bluff and also bluster, if you verified you might take the needle and also give it best back, Kelly was your friend because that life.

Nearly everyone in the NHL has actually a story or 2 about an excellent times in Kelly" s company; many of castle involve Chinese food.


""He placed St. Louis on the map in Canada. And when you made the Blues, that wasn"t prefer you simply made the Blues or the NHL, it was you do Dan Kelly."

Brian Sutter

""You"d ask him where we played the next night and also he"d say, "Lichi Gardens," "" said Bob Plager, Blues troubleshooter. ""Right far you"d know we were headed for Toronto.""

Said Lou Nanne, chairman of the Minnesota phibìc Stars, ""He to be the type of male you always knew that no matter what time it was once you finished working, he"d desire to get something come eat. The knew wherein all the best restaurants were, and also he"d constantly find a method to get you come pay.""

New York rangers broadcaster john Davidson, a former Blues goalie, did the last two Stanley Cup broadcasts through Kelly. ""You understand in hockey how we have "plus-minus" stats? In the playoffs, i was plus-12. In pounds. He was a hard guy to take trip with.""

At a sports banquet a couple of year ago, other broadcaster and needler Jack Buck described Kelly"s late-night dining habits. He climate turned to Kelly and also said, ""Man, you"re a wade compost heap.""

Hockey football player didn"t know that. Castle knew only that they to be in the presence of a living legend. To a kid growing up in Canada, listening to Kelly perform the Blues" games on KMOX Radio"s 50,000 watts or watching the Stanley Cup gamings he walk on television every spring, Dan Kelly to be a larger-than-life figure. And yet over there he was, in ~ training camp every September, walking amongst them.

""I remember as soon as I was a tiny guy cultivation up and watching the Blues as soon as they to be in the Cup finals,"" claimed Brian Sutter, the Blues coach. ""He placed St. Louis top top the map in Canada. And also when friend made the Blues, that wasn"t prefer you just made the Blues or the NHL, it to be you make Dan Kelly.

""The male was just a legend in Canada. There to be two males you heard cultivation up, Danny Gallivan and Foster Hewitt. And Dan Kelly acquired as big as those guys. Yet when you acquired here, you uncovered him to it is in a an extremely kind man, an extremely knowledgeable. ~ above the roadway you sit around and talk hockey, and Dan wanted to be best in the middle.

""He wasn"t simply announcing the game. He was the ideal ambassador for hockey there ever can be. He was honest and upfront, a an extremely loyal individual. He to be the Blues.""


Among the pallbearers together Dan Kelly"s funeral in 1989 to be (from left) Mike Shanahan, Jack Buck, Jack Quinn, Dan Wallace and also Joe Micheletti. No pictured are pallbearers Scotty Bowman and also Al Arbour. Gary Bohn/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

For Kelly, as soon as a Blue, constantly a Blue. Coaches and general managers came and went, but Kelly always stayed close come them. Amongst his best friends were previous coaches Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, Red Berenson, Emile Francis. Closest of all, perhaps, to be Barclay Plager. Kelly was ravaged by Plager"s fatality one year earlier this month.

When Mike Shanahan organized the group that bought regulate of the team 3 years ago, Kelly adopted him together a savior. Kelly, that knew anyone in the NHL, took Shanahan in tow and introduced him. ""He told human being I to be the finest thing to occur to the Blues in 10 years,"" Shanahan said. ""Coming from him, everyone believed it.""

Shanahan, an additional Irishman that likes the needle, uncovered himself in the center of one Irish battle royale once he took end the Blues. Kelly was on one side and Jack Quinn, the Blues president, was on the other.

""You know how those ireland guys deserve to argue,"" Shanahan said. ""They got into this point with your Christmas trees.""

Quinn said, ""I won"t speak Dan to be cheap, yet he took pride in being tight v a buck. That asked me one year if I"d gained my Christmas tree yet, and I claimed yeah. That asked how big it was. Ns said, "Well, you recognize we"ve obtained those high ceilings. I guess around 12 feet."

That began a holiday legacy where Quinn and Kelly went to an excellent lengths come out-decorate every other. ""There to be no limit to what they"d execute to out-light every other,"" Shanahan said. ""They had actually their kids judge the contest. I was accused of paying turn off Dan Jr. One year so Kelly could win.""

""One year he had actually his daughters tape record a bunch of stuff so he might have a talk Christmas tree,"" Quinn said.

Kelly had the critical word. At Christmas in 1987 he rented a Santa Claus suit and popped out on the former lawn once the Quinns journey up. ""That to be the funniest thing I ever before saw, Dan Kelly in a Santa suit. We obtained him come wear the fit to The Arena the following night,"" Quinn said. ""The only method he agreed was if Shanahan would certainly pay the extra rental on the suit.""

Quinn walk to great lengths come antagonize Kelly. Before one game, that answered the phone call in Kelly"s broadcast suite and, mimicking Kelly"s loud, unmistakable voice, said, ""This is Dan Kelly.""

On the other end of the line was Dan Kelly himself. Yet Quinn persisted, act his Dan Kelly voice and also telling the actual Kelly he was an imposter.




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Dan Kelly and his boy John "work" a St. Louis Blues hockey game together in 1969. Post-Dispatch document photo

Among the pallbearers as Dan Kelly"s funeral in 1989 were (from left) Mike Shanahan, Jack Buck, Jack Quinn, Dan Wallace and Joe Micheletti. No pictured room pallbearers Scotty Bowman and also Al Arbour. Gary Bohn/St. Louis Post-Dispatch