Brian Kilrea

Headshot of Brian Kilrea

Brian Kilrea

Sr. Advisor, Hockey Operations

As the personification of Canadian junior hockey excellence, few things are as synonymous as the Ottawa 67’s and Brian Kilrea. When “Killer” took a step back from coaching after 32 years with his hometown 67’s, he left a legacy the likes of which may never be matched again.

And not just in Canadian junior hockey.

The accolades speak for themselves:

  • 2,156 – More games coached than anyone else in CHL history.
  • 1,193 – More games won than any coach in CHL history, 286 more than 2nd place Bert Templeton.
  • 5x OHL Coach of the Year
  • 3 OHL Championships
  • 2 Memorial Cup Titles
  • 2x CHL Coach of the Year

In 32 years with the Barber Poles, Kilrea’s teams posted a remarkable 1193-770-153-40 record, and qualified for the postseason in all but one season. In 2003, following his record 1000th win, “Killer” was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a few short months later had the CHL’s Coach of the Year Award named in his honour.

Even before his illustrious coaching days, it seemed that success followed Kilrea wherever he went. As an AHL standout, “Killer” won three consecutive Calder Cups (1960-1962) over his decade long playing career. In the NHL, he suited up for 26 games – 25 with the Los Angeles Kings, and 1 (almost fittingly) as teammate of legend Gordie Howe for the Detroit Red Wings. Kilrea’s time in the NHL also included a two year stint as an Assistant Coach for the New York Islanders during the 1984/85 and 1985/86 campaigns.

Brian Kilrea spent all but one of his 32 years behind the bench acting concurrently as team General Manager. After stepping back from coaching following the 2008/2009 season, Kilrea spent two more seasons as 67’s General Manager before relinquishing his managerial duties. On October 17th, 2014, in celebration of his 80th birthday, Kilrea returned to his rightful place behind the 67’s bench for one final game, making him the oldest person to coach a CHL game and adding to his unmatched coaching pedigree. The Ottawa native will forever be known as the greatest coach in CHL history.

Today, Kilrea acts as a Senior Advisor for Hockey Operations.