Gilmour leaves T.O. for home

DOUG GRAHAM, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

KINGSTON -- Doug Gilmour is returning to his roots to become a bench boss for the first time.

Gilmour is the new coach of the Kingston Frontenacs.

Despite the task of turning around the worst team in the OHL, Gilmour, 45, welcomes the challenge.

"It is kind of a blessing in disguise that this is all happening for me," said Gilmour, when reached in Toronto yesterday.

"I'm getting to come home. I still have a house (in Kingston). I get to see my mom and dad, my brothers and sister and many more people more often.

"It's a challenge, but I feel I'm ready to do it. This is going to be a fun challenge."

Gilmour was not in his hometown for the official announcement.

Frontenacs owner Doug Springer, who had planned a press conference today, had to hastily make the announcement yesterday after word got out in Toronto that Gilmour had resigned from his assistant coach post with the AHL's Toronto Marlies, the farm team of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"We've landed the big one," Springer said.

"We're very excited to have a legend come in to coach this hockey club."

Gilmour replaces Larry Mavety, who stepped down as coach, but will remain as GM.

Mavety said it was a good fit for all involved.

"Dougie's got full control of what he wants to do. He'll assess the team and some areas, (and) if we can fix them through trades, we will," Mavety said.

FIRST CHOICE

"He was our first choice. We had some talks in the summer ... Today he made a commitment that this is what he wants to do."

Mavety accepted the blame for the team's struggles.

"It's a fresh start for (the players). They needed something and hopefully (Gilmour as coach) will be just the thing that could put them over the top because they aren't far away from being what we expected to be."

Mavety is confident Gilmour will be an inspiration to the players.

"Doug Gilmour is a guy who was a leader in the NHL. He was a captain and he led by example," Mavety said.

Added Springer: "If the players don't respond to Doug Gilmour I don't know who they will ever respond to."

Gilmour and Mavety have a history together, dating back to 1979-80 when Gilmour was a long-haired defenceman with the Belleville Bulls, then a Tier 2 team.

"Larry was my coach in Belleville," Gilmour said. "He is the guy who took me off the blue line and put me at centre."

Before accepting the Kingston job, Gilmour made it clear that he needed to return to Toronto at least one or two days a week in order to spend time with his sons Jake, 12, and Tyson, 10.

Gilmour said the Frontenacs were willing to accommodate his request.


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