August 17, 2011
Kilrea to retire as 67's GM'I knew it was the right time' OHL legend says as he hands reins to coach Chris Byrne
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Brian Kilrea has lived and breathed the Ottawa 67’s — as coach and GM — for 37 years.
He’s hoping to dial it back a bit, confirming Wednesday he’ll hand over the GM’s job to coach Chris Byrne. Kilrea will only stick around as a part-time scout.
While this was always part of the succession plan when Kilrea stepped away from the bench, the 67’s will make the news official at the end of the month and the soon-to-be 77-year-old won’t have any regrets.
“Chris is ready. It is one of those things where I knew it was time to go,” said Kilrea Wednesday, before heading to Rideau View for a round of golf with his longtime sidekick Bert O’Brien. “This will give me a little bit more time to do some other things: Golf a little bit more and have a little bit more freedom away from the office.
“It’s a perfect time. There will be less time to do things at the rink, more time to scout, but also more time to have fun.”
Kilrea said there was no sadness when he told owner Jeff Hunt he was stepping down.
“I think Jeff expected it,” said Kilrea. “I knew it was the right time so it was easy. I just said I wanted to be involved in the scouting.”
While there is plenty to be proud of during his long career, Kilrea said the highlight was being inducted into The Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003. The two Memorial Cup victories were special — winning one at home in 1999 was extra special.
“This has been so much fun along the way,” said Kilrea. “The kids kept me young. I mean how couldn’t they? I’m proud of any player that has gone through this place and every one that has worn an Ottawa 67’s uniform.”
Kilrea, who had 1,193 victories behind the bench, said it was always his plan to step away now.
“I talked to my kids and I talked to my wife Judy. I had always put a time limit on how long I was going to stay as GM,” said Kilrea.
“When I got away from the bench, and got over that I said, ‘The next job will be to let Chris develop.’ Chris has.
“This gives me an opportunity to be involved somewhere. So, I’ll just scout and enjoy doing that. Hopefully, in that role, I’ll be able to find a good player for Ottawa.”