Ben Kelly was the captain for the Bulls’ historic first game -a 12-7 win over the Kingston Canadians.
He resumed the role again in December when Ray Flaherty, who wore the C for most of the games in the first few months, was traded to Oshawa.
Kelly was an alternate captain for the Bulls when they went to the Centennial Cup as OHA Tier II champions in 1981. Larry Mavety tried to get the physical defenceman in the expansion draft, but the Sudbury Wolves saw his potential value. They relented and sent the Napanee native to the Bulls in September for a draft pick.
“Ben was not a seasoned guy in the OHL,” said teammate Marty Mcsorley. “But what Ben brought was an expectation of success that the Belleville Bulls had. That meant a lot. There was an expectation that Belleville be successful. I think the team developed an identity of being really scrappy.”
Intelligencer writer Tom Gavey described Kelly as “a rugged defender who may have typified the kind of spirit the Bulls needed to win 23 hockey games (in their first OHL season).”
Excerpt from 25 Years with the Belleville Bulls (Bell, Aaron 2005)
Intelligencer photo courtesy Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County
Intelligencer photos courtesy Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County