Wayne Kelly began research on the game of crokinole in 1986. Having been an avid fan of the game since he was a six-year-old, his interest in the subject was heightened when—to his surprise—he found there was almost no recorded history of the game. Following sixteen months of research and the kindly assistance of several dozen radio, television and print media stories that featured his search for the origins of the game, The Crokinole Book appeared in 1988.
Since that time, Wayne has contributed greatly to the resurgence of interest in this 140-year-old game by promoting crokinole as ‘wholesome family fun.’ With so many tens of thousands of board games appearing during the past century, there are relatively few that have stood the test of time. Wayne maintains that crokinole is among those very few, since it is a game that can be learned in five minutes (yet may take a lifetime to master), a game that is not shackled by age, gender, skill or cultural barriers, and a game that a six-year-old and his 96-year-old great-grandmother can play together, and both have fun!
It has been Wayne’s privilege to have assisted with the establishment of crokinole tournaments and events in five Canadian provinces, seven US states, as well as events across Europe, in Asia and Australia. He has been a designer and consultant to twenty-two game board companies in eight countries. And in 1999, he helped establish the World Crokinole Championship that is held annually in Tavistock, Ontario. He is also the designer of the international-standard, competition crokinole board used in that tournament, and by the more serious crokinole players around the world.
The Crokinole Book is still in print, and now in its 3rd edition (16th printing). Apart from his interest in this great game, Wayne is also the author of several Canadian social history books, including Downright Upright—A History of the Canadian Piano Industry, nominated for a Governor-General’s Literary Award. He has written several hundred newspaper and magazine articles on crokinole and the history of board games and has been a frequent guest on national radio and TV programs. Wayne has also co-produced, composed music and written for several film and television documentaries. He is currently working on two more books that will focus on aspects of Canadian social history, and a wilderness travel guide for Chinese eco-tourists to North America that will be published in the Chinese language. His most recent book, Capturing the French River–Images Along One of Canada’s Most Famous Waterways, 1910-1927 (published in May 2007) was brought about, in part, by Wayne’s life-long interest in canoeing and wilderness survival techniques. Pictured above is Wayne with his grandson, Seamus O. Kelly, as they enjoyed the first open water of March 2007 on Ontario’s Avon River in Perth County.