Kelly Hrudey is a Canadian NHL ice hockey goaltender turned hockey analyst, commentator, and sports broadcaster. He is also someone who boasts the title of husband, father, grandfather, a champion for change, and Honorary Colonel — but was Kelly Hrudey ever in the military?
Kelly Hrudey was never an active member of the military, but many people erroneously believe he was — and understandably so. Despite never serving, his mental health advocacy has earned him the title of Honorary Colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Search and Rescue School 19 Wing Comox.
For those who are searching for more information on the likable sportsman, you can end your search as this article is full of it. Are you ready to discover who Kelly Hrudey is and how he ended up being an Honorary Colonel for the prestigious Royal Canadian Air Force?
Who Is Kelly Hrudey?
Kelly Hrudey was born in a city called Edmonton, which is located in Alberta, Canada, on 13 January 1961. He grew up in a small suburb near Edmonton with his older brother Ken Hrudey and the pair enjoyed cycling around the suburb as children.
Even though he isn’t scared to get personal with his audience, not much is known about Kelly’s childhood and upbringing for undisclosed reasons. What is known is that he attended and graduated from Jasper Place High School, which is a public high school that is located in the west end of Edmonton.
But Kelly isn’t the only famous sports personality that graduated from Jasper Place High School. Other notable athletic alumni of the school include Mike Comrie, Pierre Lueders, Kier Maitland, Bill Stevenson, Bryan Barnett, and Thomas Dang.
Growing up, Kelly would often play street hockey with friends in his neighborhood. A father of one of his friends noticed his talent and one off-hand comment about his natural goalkeeping ability was enough to convince Kelly to start playing in the goal.
Kelly began playing junior hockey with The Western Hockey Leauge Medicine Hat Tigers and remained with the team for three years. In the New York Islanders’ 1980 NHL Entry Draft he was drafted in the second round and played minor league for the Indianapolis Checkers before moving over to the main club.
Next, he moved on to the Los Angeles Kings where he remained for a total of eight seasons. Kelly then moved on to the San Jose Sharks before retiring from the game in 1998 and became a full-time analyst for ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ which solidified his career as a hockey analyst, broadcaster, and commentator.
Today, he lives in Signal Hill, Calgary, Alberta, with his wife Donna Hrudey and their three daughters Kaitlin, Megan, and Jessica. He is also a doting grandfather and the proud owner of a dog named Kingston.
Did Kelly Hrudey Serve in The Military?
Kelly Hrudey has never served in the military, however, he is an Honorary Colonel with the Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue School 19 Wing Comox. Because of his official title, those who aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of titular colonelcy believe that he served in the military.
Though not active military members, Honorary Colonels are described by RCAF as “integral members of the Air Force Family”.
This honor is bestowed upon distinguished Canadian citizens and public figures that act as a public face for their units. While there isn’t a record of Kelly explicitly describing his duties, Honorary Colonels are typically expected to foster esprit de corps, promote and sustain community support, and assist in the hosting of parades and other functions.
Kelly Hrudey and Mental Health
Successful sports career aside, what boosted Kelly’s fame was his openness to discuss mental health — something that was not common in the sports world at the time. One of Kelly’s daughters, Kaitlin, has battled with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder for most of her life and this first-hand experience was what inspired Kelly to become a mental health advocate.
Kaitlin had always been a “quirky” child but it was in 2005, while on the way to her first day of school, that Kelly and Donna realized that their daughter had a disorder that was debilitating. He set out to understand and respect mental health from that point onward.
Because of his destigmatization efforts in the area of mental health, he was awarded an Honorary Bachelor of Arts in Psychology by Mount Royal University.