Photo: A banner honoring Dan Kelleher for his 40 years volunteering with Belmont Youth Hockey.
Daniel “Dan” Kelleher who for five decades volunteered as a coach and mentor with Belmont Youth Hockey and was the first coach to generations of Belmont hockey players, has died.
The long-time resident with his wife, Maura, of Long Avenue, was in frail health for the past few years. Yet he was frequently seen rink-side during Belmont High School’s playoff run this past season, having coached the majority of players a decade earlier.
“Belmont Hockey and the entire town have lost a legend,” twitted Belmont High Hockey. “40 plus years of volunteering for hockey and baseball. Had an impact on thousands of young athletes. Will be missed but never forgotten.”
“On the ice or off, Dan Kelleher was the kind of guy you wanted your kids to learn from,” wrote Kevin Kavanagh, executive director at Massachusetts Hockey.
Kelleher will best be remembered as the coach of Belmont Youth Hockey’s Mites, the eight-year-old and under players who play in their first competitive games against other towns. He hosted the annual holiday Mite tournament over the Christmas break that attracted teams from around eastern Massachusetts to Belmont.
Kelleher also coached baseball with the Middlesex Senior Babe Ruth League.
Kelleher is a member of the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame (2001) and the 2001 recipient of the William Thayer Tutt Award, USA Hockey’s highest volunteer award.
He is survived by five sons, all of who played college hockey. Last year, his son Patrick was named the executive director of USA Hockey, the sport’s national governing body.