Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Killer's coaching career is complete

He has probably ridden his last bus and filled out his final line up sheet in the OHL, Brian Kilrea the storied coach of the Ottawa 67's saw his hockey team eliminated on Tuesday night, losing a 4-3 decision to Niagara Falls in overtime and bringing to an end to one of the most colourful of coaching careers in hockey .

The 67's loss allows the Ice Dogs to move on in the OHL playoffs, gaining a come from behind win, that secured a 4 game to three victory in the best of seven opening round series.

For Kilrea the final stats will show that he retires from coaching with 2,156 regular season games behind a bench, earning 1,193 wins, a Canadian junior hockey record and one that we suspect will stand for a good many years. And that's not even counting his many playoff appearances and successes.

But beyond that impressive number is another statistic that isn't measured in numbers but in the quality of the people he has sent out into the world. For every success story that graduated from the 67's and entered the NHL (and there are many) there are even more players who have moved on from hockey thankful for their time with the coach and the lessons that he taught them through the years.

Brian Kilrea's name is legend in Ottawa, a long time fixture with the 67's (32 years in charge) he has become one of the faces of the nation's capital, a larger than life figure, who earned his respect the hard way from his early days as a player to the guiding force behind what most agree is one of Canada's most successful sports franchises, Kilrea has always been the definition of class.

While he steps away from the bench (and he's done that before) he won't be too far away from the game and the team he loves, Kilrea will continue on as the 67's General Manager, the most watchful of eyes over the youngsters and the shrewdest of eyes in hockey.

The folks in Ottawa wouldn't have it any other way...

Ottawa Citizen-- 67's lose series in overtime stunner
Canadian Press-- Kilrea's career ends on losing note
Metro News Ottawa-- That’s a career for Kilrea
CFRA Ottawa-- Kilrea's Career Ends as 67's Lose
Ottawa Sun-- Kilrea's career comes to an end in overtime loss
Photo above from the Ottawa Citizen web site

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