When the CHL’s annual award for Coach of the Year is named after you, that’s a pretty good indicator that you had a pretty decent career behind the bench. Brian Kilrea certainly had that. He is the winningest coach in CHL history, a 5-time OHL coach of the year, 2-time Memorial Cup winner, 3-time OHL champion and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. And what was the secret to his success? He was a great judge of character and a builder of character. 15 and 16 year old boys came to Ottawa thinking they would learn to become better hockey players, and they did, but what “Killer” really gave them was a solid foundation upon which they could become good players and good citizens. Many former players that never made it to the NHL did make it as businessmen, police officers, fire fighters, accountants, real estate executives and most other careers you can think of. Killer’s hockey lessons were also life lessons … focus, teamwork, goal setting, tenacity, discipline, respect for others, giving back to the community and having fun. To a man, members of the 67’s alumni will tell you they love the guy and credit him for much of their own success in life.
Killer had almost 40-years with the 67’s as a coach and then coach/GM, before “retiring” and becoming Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations. That means over one-thousand kids came through the system on his watch. He knew when to give them a pat on the back or a kick in the pants (figuratively speaking). He was respected by parents, billet families, fans, fellow coaches, staff, media and pretty well anybody he came into contact with. Even now, he “works” at Chances R Restaurant on Thursdays and Fridays between 11 AM and 2 PM, meeting and greeting patrons and sharing stories. He is a 67’s ambassador at large, and those who are lucky enough to run into him and share a story or two, come away feeling better about themselves.