P.E.I. native Kameron Kielly certainly saved the best for last.
He was one of three allowed 20-year-olds for the Charlottetown Islanders through the 2016/17 season, and was a huge part of the team from the first game to the last.
Kielly was an invite to the LA Kings training camp before starting the season in Charlottetown. He had worked hard in the off season to be in the best shape possible, and it showed.
In the very first game of the season, in front of a raucous Eastlink Centre, Kielly had one goal and three assists as the Isles opened the year with a win against the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Two nights later, Kielly scored twice and added three assists in Moncton.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Island native had three goals, six assists and nine points in the first two games of the season. Talk about a hot start.
He was named the QMJHL First Star of the Week, as well as the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Week.
By the end of October, Kielly already had tallied 20 points in 15 games.
For Islanders Head Coach and GM Jim Hulton, Kielly’s hot start came as no surprise.
“I think the big thing for me was on day one of fitness testing. Kam(eron) came in the condition of a pro. He trained really hard this summer and we always talk about winning the summer, and it’s a bit of a cliché, but I thought he was a champion in the weight room all summer and it has translated onto the ice,” Hulton said in October.
Kielly was an Assistant Captain all season long and was a veteran leader on and off the ice.
November and February were his best months of the season. He had nine goals and 15 points in November, while in February he had six goals and 17 points.
Kielly played much of the season with Filip Chlapik on the team’s top line. After Christmas, Adam Marsh joined the duo and they were a force to be reckon with into the playoffs.
At the finish of his final regular season in the QMJHL, Kielly had posted his best season yet, by far:
- 2012/13 – 60GP, 2G, 4A, 6PTS (with Gatineau)
- 2013/14 – 66GP, 10G, 21A, 31PTS
- 2014/15 – 67GP, 16G, 33A, 49PTS
- 2015/16 – 48GP, 15G, 27A, 42PTS
- 2016/17 – 65GP, 34G, 40A, 74PTS
It was Kielly’s first season with more than 20 goals (in which he had 34) and he finished with a +31.
Kielly has been in Charlottetown through it all. In his first season with the Isles, they won just 21 games in the 68-game season.
In his final season, they finished second in the league in overall wins (46) and points (96).
As the team honoured their three 20-year-old players at the end of the regular season, Kielly’s applause may have been just a little louder.
Islanders loved watching a fellow Islander grow and succeed. From a budding 17-year-old, to an accomplished over-ager, he has made the Island proud with his intensity, grit and determination.
As he finishes his Junior career, this is only the beginning for Kielly.
From minor hockey to the third round of the QMJHL playoffs, it all happened right here on little old Prince Edward Island for Kameron Kielly.