67's are road rockers

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

SUDBURY -- Logan Couture knows a thing or two about playing hockey, but 67's coach Brian Kilrea says the kid and many of his teammates could use some schooling about music.

Asked if he was familiar with Anne Murray, Couture, a 16-year-old rookie with the 67's said he had no idea who she is.

Kilrea, a huge fan of Murray's singing talents, chuckled. But he's getting used to these sorts of things, and the ever-growing age difference, as he approaches his 71st birthday, between he and his players.

"It sure ain't the same as it used to be," said Kilrea.

The players are thankful that Kilrea doesn't control the choice of music on the team bus, a chore he was happy to assume for many years.

Not so long ago, the coach would stick a Murray tape into the stereo on the bus, hit play and that's what everybody would hear until the 67's reached their destination.

"I remember one trip to London when we counted the number of times we heard Snowbird on the way down," said Brian Patafie, the team's athletic therapist. "It must have been 56 before we got there.

"If I had seen Anne Murray that day, I don't know what I would have done."

But now, technology has pushed Ms. Murray off the 67's bus, empowering the players an assortment of entertainment choices as the bus cruises down the highway.

Defenceman Elgin Reid estimates that at least half his teammates own an iPod or MP3 player, which gives them the ability to listen to the music they want.

In addition, the bus is equipped with a satellite receiver, so there's an option to watch whatever programming Kilrea chooses -- Presidents Cup golf was the choice during the current trip.

There's also wireless Internet, which allows players with laptop computers to keep in touch with friends and family through e-mail -- even on the road.

"I guess we could listen to Killer's music and hear Anne Murray all the time, but I think that would put us all to sleep, and that wouldn't be a good thing," said Reid.

Playing in his third season with the 67's, Reid has assumed unofficial control over a new boombox that Kilrea has nicknamed "The Bazooka" because of its enormous size.

Donated to the players by the 67's booster club, it gets special treatment on road trips, transported in a special strongbox that protects it from damage.

"It's not that heavy," said Patafie, grunting while moving the not-so-portable stereo into its place in the team's dressing room at the Sudbury arena. "It only weighs about 50 lbs."

Before games, the players pick the music, then crank up the volume just loud enough to be within Kilrea's tolerance level.

"It's pretty much a wide assortment of tastes on the team," said Reid. "A lot of times it'll be heavy rock like Metallica and maybe some Nirvana or stuff like that.

We like to hear something that might get us motivated or pump us up before a game."

Reid prefers modern country music like Big & Rich or Tim McGraw, and he's trying to talk his teammates into giving it a try.

"I live on a farm, so that's why I like country," said Reid. "I think I've convinced some of the guys that it's pretty good."

As far as Kilrea's concerned, he doesn't care about the music the guys listen to -- whether it's rock, country, hip-hop or even rap.

Just as long as they keep it under a reasonable decibel level.

"Their motto is if it's loud, then the music's good," said Kilrea. "No wonder they never know the words of the stuff they're listening to, because it's so loud nobody can understand it."

IN THE CREASE: The 67's, winners of a 4-3 decision in their season opener Friday against the Greyhounds in Sault Ste. Marie, continue their trip against the Sudbury Wolves this afternoon ... The Wolves could be missing St. Isidore's Benoit Pouliot for today's game. There's a chance defenceman Marc Staal may play. Pouliot had an assist for the Minnesota Wild in NHL preseason action Friday against Florida and has yet to be returned to Sudbury. Staal, meanwhile, was returned to his junior club by the New York Rangers on Thursday, but the Wolves aren't certain if he'll be available against Ottawa.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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