Francis Nelson was a respected sports writer who moved on to the administration of amateur hockey in Canada. His dedication was a key component of the growth and success of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) in the early 1900's.
Nelson earned a solid reputation as a reporter and eventually sports editor of the Toronto Globe. Always a keen follower of hockey, he was elected to the executive of the OHA in 1899. It was in this capacity that Nelson made a significant contribution to the enhancement of the sport. One of his first tasks was to address the need for a more suitable design for the goal area.
Through his contacts Nelson learned that the Australians were utilizing nets between the posts during field hockey and soccer matches. He obtained a copy of the plans for this apparatus and oversaw the manufacturing of different samples until a suitable netting for ice hockey was created. OHA President John Ross Robertson recognized the value of this innovation and insisted on its adoption by the league. Another proponent of Nelson's discovery was OHA Secretary WA Hewitt.
In 1902 Nelson was appointed Second vice-president of the OHA then the following year he ascended to First vice-president. Nelson later became involved with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association where he functioned as vice-president in 1914-15. That year he also began representing the OHA on the Canadian Amateur Athletic Union. Nelson stepped down from active duty in 1921. His exemplary administrative career was promptly acknowledged by a lifetime membership in the OHA. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.