2020 IHHF Bio Series: Jim McKeague

Jim McKeague
Builders Category ~ Class of 2020


Jim was born in Chicago where he spent the first ten years of his life growing up as a Southsider. Following a stint of seven years in Pennsylvania, Jim returned with his four siblings and parents back to the Chicago area. Having attended high school at St. Laurence, he went on to attend Lewis University, where he earned his degree in 1972. He spent his 43-year career with Jewel Foods where he held several leadership positions during that time. Jim is currently enjoying retirement with his lovely wife Karen while residing in Naperville.

Jim’s hockey involvement spans across several decades as both a player, where he laced them up in every local Chicagoland rink imaginable, and as a diehard hockey purist and fan. His passion peaked as he took a critical board position for the Waubonsie Valley Hockey Club where his son, Jimmy, was playing his high school hockey. Having served all four years while his son played for the team, Jim went on to lead the club as their President for two years. Like so many parents, Jim thought his tenure with the club was finished after his son graduated, however, he was asked to take over a Metro West League that needed strong leadership and direction. The Metro West High School Hockey League featured some of the top clubs in the state including Waubonsie Valley, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Glenbard, Sandburg, and Neuqua to highlight just a few of the clubs.

He spent twenty years leading the Metro West Hockey League as their President, along with help from friends Ed, Dennis, Brian, Susan, and Glenn, as well as support from top tiered high school coaches. He was able to turn the league around and pivot towards a more competitive environment for high school hockey players in the Chicagoland area. His league evolved throughout the years and Jim was responsible for developing enhancements to the league such as skills competitions partnered with charitable events for students, outdoor winter classic games on New Year’s Day (with pom pom knit hats for all the players!), an enhanced referee system, as well as focused achievements for those players who performed both on the ice and in the classroom.

Jim is honored to be recognized by a group of his peers for his commitment to the game and its players. He now looks forward to attending Blackhawks games with his granddaughter, Molly, similarly to how he spent years taking his son, and teaching her the game of hockey. It has been a privilege for Jim to develop an environment where so many young athletes have had the opportunity to compete and grow the sport while providing the best opportunity for high school hockey.


Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be holding an induction ceremony this year. We will be inducting this 16th class into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at the Belvedere Banquet Hall in Elk Grove Village beginning at 5:00 pm. More information will follow when we get closer to the event.

“To honor the excellence of those individuals who, through their exceptional endeavors both on and off the ice, have contributed in an extraordinary way to enhance the sport and image of hockey in Illinois.”



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