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Kameron Kielly is going pro.
The 23-year-old Charlottetown native has signed a one-year, two-way AHL contract with the Iowa Wild, the Minnesota Wild’s affiliate.
It’s something the UPEI graduate has been working towards for years.
“I feel 100 pounds lighter today that’s for sure,” he said Monday night after inking the deal. “It is only April, but it’s great to have it done. It’s nice for me and my family to kind of know where I am going (next season). I can connect with the trainers and their athletic (therapists) and get to work right away.”
Kielly said it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his parents Tobey and Jason Kielly and brother Caden.
The right-winger played four seasons with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Charlottetown Islanders, finishing his junior career in 2016-17 with a 74-point season in 65 games.
He continued to score in the Atlantic University Sport conference with UPEI.
He played all 30 games each of his three seasons and was a consistent threat for the Forbes MacPherson-coached Panthers. He had 13, 15 and 17 goals, respectively, to go with 42, 43 and 42 points.
“I can’t thank Forbie enough. He’s been great for me. He’s helped me grow, not only as a player, but as a person,” Kielly said.
MacPherson said Kielly consistency is more impressive when you dig deeper.
“We’re a team that, at times, relies heavily on certain players,” he said. “They can get a lot of attention from other teams, so to be able to consistently put up those numbers, I think, is proof of Kam’s skill level.”
MacPherson said he was pleased to see Kielly sign the pro deal, noting he was an Island product who stayed home to play his hockey.
Kielly completed the requirements for his business degree in the first semester of 2019-20. He was hoping to turn pro after the Panthers were eliminated from the playoffs and even skated with the Islanders waiting for the phone to ring.
After about 10 days of discussions with the Wild organization, the deal was signed.
“The look in my mother’s eyes tonight kind of said everything for me and my family,” Kielly said. “To finally get the opportunity to go pro, pursue my dream, get my foot in the door, I am absolutely blessed. To have my degree in my pocket as well is a dream come true.”
Kielly said he’s been fortunate to have former teammates in the pros he could lean on throughout his career like Ryan MacKinnon, Ryan Graves and Ross Johnston.
“They’ve been huge for me,” Kielly said. “(MacKinnon) has helped me a lot even throughout the contract process. … I can’t thank him enough for his help.”
Kielly attended the Pittsburgh Penguins camp in 2015. Bill Guerin, the Minnesota Wild general manager, was working for Pittsburgh at the time.
Who – A hockey player from Charlottetown. He completed his university degree this year while playing for the UPEI Panthers and signed his first pro contract Monday with the AHL’s Iowa Wild.
Height, weight, position – Six-foot-one, 185-pound right-winger.
Did you know? Kielly was the male athlete of the year at UPEI in 2019.
Season Team (league) GP G A Pts.
2012-13 Gatineau (QMJHL) 60 2 4 6
2013-14 Charlottetown (QMJHL) 66 10 21 31
2014-15 Charlottetown (QMJHL) 67 16 33 49
2015-16 Charlottetown (QMJHL) 48 15 27 42
2016-17 Charlottetown (QMJHL) 65 34 40 74
2017-18 UPEI (AUS) 30 13 29 42
2018-19 UPEI (AUS) 30 15 28 43
2019-20 UPEI (AUS) 30 17 25 42