LSSU Hockey Honors Former Student

SAULT STE. MARIE – As the Lake Superior State hockey program returned to the ice back in October, it did so without a member of its extended family.

Justin Kelly, an LSSU student and proud member of the student section, passed away unexpectedly in February of this year. Just 20 years old, Kelly left a lasting impact on everyone that knew him, including the Laker fans and players.

Fans in attendance at Taffy Abel Arena this season will find an empty seat among the “Laker Legion” as a way to honor Kelly.

“Justin was a good kid and he brought a lot of energy to our student section,” LSSU Zamboni driver Jesse Burtt said. “We never really had a student section that was involved until Justin got into it. It was sad when the accident happened and stuff, so we figured we’d do it for him because he would be here.”

Studying to be a firefighter, Kelly, native of downstate Milford, was on course to graduate from LSSU’s fire science program in 2020.

“The entire building knew who Justin was,” LSSU student Daniel Jones said. “Speedo guy from the speedo he wore every game. He brought so much energy and so much enthusiasm. Everything he did here. This place would definitely not be the way it is today without him.

“It was just a great way to memorialize him. Put his name on it. His parents got to come and see the seat and just experience the hockey game that Justin loved. Really just got to enjoy the whole atmosphere of Laker hockey. It’s a really cool thing.”

Taffy Abel Arena plans to gift the seat to Kelly’s parents and replace it with a new one.