‘Doc’ Kellough

Canadian ‘Doc’ Kellough was one of the pioneers of ice hockey in Britain. In the words of his original Hall of Fame citation in the weekly Ice Hockey World: ‘He did much to help young players and spread the gospel of hockey’.

A medical doctor, he came to England just as a mini-boom in ice rinks was starting, and appeared on many of the new teams in London and the south.

A founder member of the Hammersmith club, he is recorded as having played in their first season, 1929-30, and was on the ice for the Londoners when the first game was staged at Bournemouth in December 1930.

The first captain of the Grosvenor House (Hotel) Canadians when they competed in the English League of 1931-32, he was in their line-up when they took part in the first contest at the Purley rink in south London in March 1932.

For his final playing season in 1934-35 he joined Queen’s in London’s Queensway rink. By now, however, the number and standard of Canadian players escaping the Depression was rising, and Doc turned to organising.

He assembled teams of what he called – in the title of the Depression-era song – the Forgotten Men, though in this case they were veteran Canadians and young Englishmen, who weren’t talented enough to break into the semi-pro ranks.

Among the many games he organised was one in 1937 between Queen’s and London Canadians in Blackpool where a rink had just opened on the resort’s Golden Mile.

In the years between the start of pro hockey in 1934-35 and the outbreak of World War Two, he served as honorary medical officer at two of London’s largest arenas, Wembley and Earl’s Court.

Kellough was short, stout and sturdy with a husky voice. A fount of hockey folklore, he was a father figure to many aspiring young players.

In his Ice Hockey World, Hall of Fame founder Bob Giddens said of him: ‘Any hockey player about to board a freight ]train] and then a tramp steamer for Europe would be [told] – see Doc if you get to London … feel dazed and don’t know which way to turn’.

Thorold McDiarmid Kellough MD was born on 9 March 1894 in Lanark, Ontario and died in late 1957 in Kensington, London. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1950.