Kelly Hrudey was selected in the 2nd round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 38th overall, by the New York Islanders. He played three years of junior hockey with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL and was a workhorse in each season, playing more than 50 games. As a 17-year-old rookie, Hrudey played in 57 games, but sported a rather dismal 12-34-7 record with a terrible 6.17 gaa. He was easily player with the most improved statistics the following year, once again appearing in 57 games, finishing with a 25-23-4 record and a 4.17 gaa with one shutout. In his final year of junior, Hrudey played in 55 games, going 32-19-1 with four shutouts and a 3.97 gaa.
With Billy Smith in his prime with the New York Islanders, Hrudey was not going to see much playing time on Long Island, so he was sent down to the minors to stay in playing shape with the Indianapolis Checkers of the CHL. Hrudey had hoped to join the Canadian National Team and play in the 1984 Olympics, but his eligibility became the topic of hot dispute between U.S. and Canadian officials, and he was ultimately left off the team. International Olympic Committee rules stipulated that rosters must include 18 players and two goalies. Head coach Dave King was unwilling to cut either goalie Mario Gosselin or Darren Eliot, who had been loyal members of the team for a long period of time. Officials with the U.S. Olympic Committee said they would protest with the IOC if Canada used Hrudey or any other player under a professional contract. At that time, Hrudey had already played ten games with the Islanders.
Hrudey finally got his chance at playing in the NHL in 1984-85, when he started 41 games. That was followed up by 46, 47 and 50-game seasons in goal, before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings late in the 1988-89 season. Hrudey played six full seasons with the Kings, including leading them to the Stanley Cup finals in 1993 against the Montreal Canadiens, where they lost in five games. His busiest NHL season was in 1993-94, when he played in 64 games for L.A.
Hrudey played his final two years in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks, retiring after the 1997-98 season at the age of 37.During his 15-year career with the Islanders, Los Angeles, and San Jose, Hrudey compiled a record of 271-265-88 with a goals against average of 3.43, with 16 shutouts.
Thanks to a friendly, outgoing style and an indepth knowledge of hockey, Hrudey has gone to become an excellent hockey commentator on television with Hockey Night in Canada. He became a full-time analyst during the 1998-99 season after providing excellent commentary during four-playoff seasons alongside host Ron MacLean. During the 1999 NHL playoffs, Hrudey's segment "Behind the Mask" became a regular feature.
During the 2000-01 season, Hrudey and Scott Russell hosted a new feature on Hockey Night in Canada called "After Hours" which presented a interactive component, responses to viewer e-mails and the results of a daily viewer's poll conducted on the Internet.