Centre Kelly Kisio utilized his speed, exceptional hockey sense, and strong character to last more than a dozen years in the NHL. Over the years he was a team leader, playmaker, checker, penalty killer, and power-play specialist on four different NHL clubs.
The native of Peace River, Alberta starred in the Alberta Junior League with the Red Deer Rustlers. He next spent two years in the WHL with the Calgary Wranglers where he scored consecutive 60-goal seasons in 1979 and 1980. He entered pro hockey as a free agent in 1980-81 and was an effective player with the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL and the IHL's Kalamazoo Wings. He still failed to garner a pro contract from an NHL team after scoring 62 goals for the CHL's Dallas Black Hawks in 1981-82.
Kisio headed overseas in 1982-83 to suit up for the HC Davos club in Switzerland and scored 49 times in 40 matches. Finally, the Detroit Red Wings came calling and Kisio was signed as a free agent on March 2, 1983. Kisio recorded three straight 60-point seasons in Motown before he was the centrepiece in a deal with the New York Rangers that brought goalie Glen Hanlon to Detroit. Kisio recorded five straight 20-goal seasons and averaged nearly 70 points in his five years on Manhattan. The upbeat forward also served as the team's captain for three and a half seasons.
A new challenge awaited the veteran pivot in 1991-92 when he ended up as one of the team leaders on the expansion San Jose Sharks. That year Kisio battled injuries and only played 48 games but still managed 37 points. He was back to his old self the next year with 78 points, including 52 assists. In August 1993 Kisio returned to his native Alberta when he signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames. He contributed defensive play and leadership to the powerful Flames before retiring in 1995.