'Beautiful spirit': David 'DK' Kelly gets heartfelt farewell in Saint John
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 8:21PM ADT
People from the New Brunswick hockey community and well beyond said a final and fond farewell Wednesday to David Kelly, better known to almost everyone as DK.
His brave battle with cancer and selfless acts of generosity inspired countless people near and far.
Friends and family gathered at the Rivercross Church in Saint John to celebrate his extraordinary life.
“He was a modern-day, living superhero,” said Wayne Long, former president of the Saint John Sea Dogs.
DK was widely known and admired for his long and courageous battle with cancer, his optimistic outlook, and his #TeamDK movement.
“David became most famous when he became sick,” said Rev. Rob Nylen. “He made the uncommon choice to battle not just for himself but for others as well.”
For 13 years, he was the Saint John Sea Dogs’ beloved head equipment manager and made many friends inside -- and outside -- the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
“He would be the one at night to take the chances so that the Dogs would see the light and enjoy the day,” said sportscaster Ron MacLean. “He was a beautiful, beautiful spirit. He'll be with us forever. DK, in it together.”
Kelly was with the team for three QMJHL titles and a Memorial Cup championship. A former coach says he helped bring out the best in the players.
“He was there to help, he didn't ask for much in return from there,” said Danny Flynn. “He was all giving. He was there to try and make their time in Saint John as successful as it could be and as happy as it could be.”
Long said “DK was responsible for creating a culture within our organization of caring, a culture of winning, and I think the results speak for themselves.”
On Wednesday, the Sea Dogs' longtime bus driver took DK for one last ride.
“It's kind of a hard thing to do in a way, and I tried not to think too much about it,” said Granville (Granny) Jennings. “I gotta drive the bus, so I gotta concentrate on that. But no, it's nice; it was an honour and privilege to be asked to do it.”
It was one of many heartfelt final respects for a man who gave so much of himself to his community, and whose legacy will never be forgotten.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.