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Charlottetown native looking for another big season to finish his university career with the UPEI Panthers
Kameron Kielly knows it’s a big year for him.
The 22-year-old Charlottetown native has a semester left in his business degree at UPEI and is looking to build on back-to-back productive seasons with the Panthers men’s hockey team.
After taking care of business on and off the ice in 2019-20 he is hoping to land a pro shot.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to be a pro hockey player, so I guess I just keep knocking on the door and hopefully get the foot in one day,” he said.
“It’s kind of hard to believe, honestly, but I think it’s exciting,” he added. “I think last year at UPEI we really made big strides as a team and I am happy to have one more year there to finish off strong.”
Kielly took the latest step in his hockey career last week, attending the Carolina Hurricanes development camp.
“I got some positive feedback,” he said. “I got some things I need to work on this summer – I need to get stronger and work on my first couple of strides.
“It improved a lot last year, but I need to get a little quicker to play at the next level.”
He will continue working with Dave (Eli) MacEachern on footspeed and strength and hopes to get on the ice later this month with Brad MacKenzie.
He said it is important to have a good year and be ready for whatever opportunities may arise with a short season in the Atlantic University Sport.
Kielly began his five-year Quebec Major Junior Hockey League career with the Gatineau Olympiques in 2012-13 after being the 18th overall pick at the 2012 draft.
One of Grant Sonier’s first moves as general manager of the Charlottetown Islanders was to acquire Kielly from Gatineau.
He played four seasons with the Islanders, including having 34 goals and 40 assists for 74 points in 65 games as an overage player in 2016-17.
He made the transition to university hockey by putting up 42 points in 30 games in his rookie campaign and followed it up with 43 points in 30 games in 2018-19.
Kielly attended development camps with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings during his Islanders days. He also attended the Winnipeg Jets camp before his first season with the Panthers.
He didn't attend a camp last year but said his understanding is NHL teams traditionally don’t bring in guys who have more than a year of university remaining.
Sonier, now a scout with the Hurricanes, called Kielly on June 23 to let him know he may get an invite. Shortly after Kielly received a call from former NHLer Sergei Samsonov, who is now in charge of the forwards development for the Hurricanes, letting him know he would be flying out on June 25.
Kielly is appreciative of everything Sonier and others have done for him during his career.
“It’s a big world, but the hockey community is so small,” he said. “To have someone who believes in me as a player and as a person . . . it's a pretty big honour.”