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Flyers Great Bob Kelly Drops in on Collingswood Schoolchildren

As the surprise guest at the kids' November assembly, the former Broad Street Bully talked about teamwork, motivation, and cultivating a positive attitude.

Flyers forward Bob 'The Hound' Kelly brought his message of teamwork and positive attitude to classes at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
Flyers forward Bob 'The Hound' Kelly brought his message of teamwork and positive attitude to classes at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
When Bob "The Hound" Kelly says that fighting is "a dinosaur" in the National Hockey League, that's a clear sign that things have changed.

The former Broad Street Bully has just shy of 100 career bouts in the NHL, according to Hockeyfights.com, to go along with 362 points and two Stanley Cups in an 837-game career that spanned 1970—1982.

Known for his lunchpail work ethic, Kelly was a scrapper who understood that fighting was a role player's duty, and one of the tools he used to buy space for his teammates and keep the opposition honest.

But after marrying a schoolteacher, the Ontario native started to consider his post-hockey career through the lens of raising some younger children.

Today he brings a slightly different message to the table; one that emphasizes teamwork, motivation, and keeping a positive attitude.

As a Philadelphia Flyers community ambassador ("I wanted to do like [76ers Community Ambassador] World B. Free," he said), Kelly paid a special visit to the students at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood last month to share that message with students there.

"Each month, we honor students with perfect attendance," said Principal Joseph Gurscik. "This month the theme was respect.

"The kids love the program because it's fun," he said. "They come away with how important [those messages are] as a class."

There's no better game than hockey to use to open the door to those kinds of conversations, Kelly believes.

"Hockey is the vehicle to attract kids," he said, but Kelly's own vehicle gets a workout, too.

Together with the Flyers community outreach team, The Hound rolls through about 100 schools a year, and estimates he's seen about 100,000 kids annually.

"We're out pretty much every day," he said, adding, "I draw the line at Exit 5 on the Turnpike."

For the children at Sharp, Kelly's message was clear: work hard, take care of your classmates, and always think about how you can be a team player.

"Always pick out the right people to hang out with and the right things will happen for you," he said.

Patch also spoke with some of the "right people" in Kelly's life—including his former teammates, Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent, and winger-turned-TV analyst Bill Clement, last year.

Click here to read about their memories of the wild hockey days of the 1970s and how it influenced their post-sports careers.

Or, for reflections on the current Flyers roster, check out Josh Kaz's 'Drop the Puck' blog here on Collingswood Patch.
chersquad@mac.com December 08, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Love "The Hound" - a classic Broad Street Bully.

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