GANGNEUNG, Korea, Republic Of — There’s not much Chris Kelly hasn’t seen in hockey, but a ‘C’ on his sweater is new.
“This is my first time,” said the 37-year-old former Boston Bruin and Ottawa Senator who will captain Team Canada at the Winter Olympics. “I’ve been an alternate in a few places.
“For whatever reason I couldn’t get it in Ottawa when they had (Daniel) Alfredsson there,” he added, tongue in cheek. “And then I went to Boston and they had (Zdeno) Chara. So I don’t know. Just bad luck, I guess.”
For Kelly, the captaincy is another step on a unexpected second chapter to his hockey career. After being let go by the Ottawa Senators after last season, he spent time with the Edmonton Oilers on a professional tryout this season.
When that didn’t work out, he returned home to Ottawa in mid-November and gave himself until the end of the month to keep training. He told himself if nothing came up by then, he would “look at other avenues after hockey.”
Instead he got an offer from the Senators to join their AHL affiliate in Belleville. That led to a Hockey Canada call-up at the Spengler Cup and now he finds himself captaining the Olympic team.
“Such a great honour,” Kelly said after getting his first look at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. “And very humbling. There’s so many great people in that locker room who could ultimately be wearing it. It’s a thrill.”
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