Kelley leads Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductees who’ve made A Better Maine Through Sport!
John “Jack” Kelley, a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer who coached the Colby College men's ice hockey team, guided Boston University to two national titles, led the Hartford Whalers to an AVCO Cup and was president of the Pittsburgh Penguins, leads the Maine Sports Hall of Fame 2016 induction class.
"Jack Kelley was at the highest level in coaching, hockey administration and the personal impact he had on all he touched," said Dick Whitmore, chairman of the MSHoF board and a member of the 1998 induction class. "What he has done for ice hockey will never be duplicated."
The star-studded induction group also includes best friends who qualified for the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials, an Olympic skier, a philanthropic family, a six-time Maine Women's Amateur Champion golfer and a National Hockey League player.
It also includes a world record-setting powerlifter, an all-American high school running back, a Major League Baseball pitcher, a former college ice hockey player whose foundation funds spinal cord injury research, and a former standout Division I basketball star who now coaches in college.
In addition to Kelley, inductees are: Kristin Barry and Sheri Piers, Kirsten Clark-Rickenbach, the Cross family, Pennie Page Cummings, Doug Friedman, Dan Hamblett, Ralph Payne, Ed Phillips, Travis Roy and Amy Vachon.
Whitmore invited the public to meet the inductees at the 41st annual induction ceremony May 1, 2016, at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Five high school scholar-athletes, who will be announced in April, each will be awarded $5,000 scholarships at the ceremony.
Tickets are $55 each and $500 for a reserved table for 10. They may be purchased at www.mshof.com
or by sending a check to MSHOF, P.O. Box 222, Oakland, ME 04963. The social hour starts at 11 a.m. and the luncheon begins at noon.
Following are brief biographies of the inductees:
• Barry, of South Portland, and Piers, of Westbrook, have achieved success running races in the state, region and country. In 2008, they qualified for the Olympic Marathon trials. The friends who train together have placed in the upper tier of the Boston Marathon and Beach to Beacon. The pair, who also coached together, are still successful in masters' competitions.
• Clark-Rickenbach, of Raymond, was a downhill skier on the U.S. Ski Team, competing in three Winter Olympics. She won seven U.S. titles, had 30 top-10 finishes in World Cup speed events, competed in six World Alpine Championships and, in 2003, won the Silver Medal in super-G. The junior national champion attended Carrabassett Valley Academy.
• The Cross family, of Bangor, has advanced sport through its naming rights at the Cross Insurance Center and Cross Insurance Arena. The Cross Insurance Pavilion & Business Center is in Gillette Stadium and the family — including Woodrow, Royce, Brent (to be inducted posthumously), Jonathan and Woodrow II — has a presence with the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins.
• Cummings, of Lewiston, has had a legendary golf career in Maine and New England. She won the Maine Women's Amateur Championship six times in four decades and finished as runner-up nine times. Cummings also has won 11 Senior Championships in the last two decades.
• Friedman, of Cape Elizabeth, enjoyed a nine-year professional ice hockey career, winning a Calder Cup while captaining the Hershey Bears in the AHL and playing with Edmonton and Nashville in the NHL. The former Boston University captain, and three-time Final Four participant, is head ice hockey coach and director of athletics at Kents Hill School.
• Hamblett, of Portland, won 28 state powerlifting championships, 19 national championships and five world championships while setting three American records and one world record. Hamblett, who graduated from Deering High School and Maine Maritime Academy, participated in national and world competitions for more than 20 years.
• Kelley, formerly of Waterville, also twice played in the NCAA finals for BU. He was the Terriers' most valuable player and an All-ECAC selection. Kelley had two stints coaching the Colby Mules, from 1955-62 and 1976-77.
• Payne, of Brewer, was a tri-captain and an all-state running back for state champion Brewer High School. Letterman Magazine called him one of the 22 best running backs in the nation and the 1970 Kick-Off Magazine listed him as the second best running back in the New England/Mid Atlantic states. Payne was chosen for several all-American football squads.
• Phillips, of Portland, who pitched in relief in 1970 for the Red Sox, also had a stellar career in Minor League Baseball. Phillips was the No. 1 hurler for Colby College, was an All-State player at Deering High School and starred on state and New England Little League championship teams. He notched a number of no-hitters during his career.
• Roy, of Yarmouth, was an elite high school ice hockey player who became a quadriplegic when he crashed into the boards in his first game at Boston University. The author, speaker and fundraiser for spinal cord injury research and survivors is the lone Terrier to have his number retired. The Boston Bruins recently awarded him a one-day contract to recognize his work.
• Vachon, of Augusta, is an assistant coach at the University of Maine where, as a player, she set school and league assist records and guided the Black Bears to two America East championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances. At Cony, she was USA Today Maine Player of the Year, Gatorade Player of the Year and Miss Maine Basketball.
Editor’s Note: Dick Whitmore is chairman of the board of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. Established in 1972, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding Maine high school scholar-athletes and inducts Maine athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and honor to the state. For additional information and to purchase tickets to the 2016 banquet, visit mshof.com. The Maine Sports Hall of Fame is making A Better Maine Through Sport!