Learning curve for Gilmour, too

ROGER LAJOIE, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

While he forever will be known as former Maple Leafs great Doug Gilmour, the 45-year-old Kingston native has found his new chosen career -- head coach of the junior Frontenacs -- to be more rewarding than he anticipated.

"I'm loving it, I really am," Gilmour said before his Fronts were edged 4-3 by the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors yesterday at The Hershey Centre. "It's more than I could ever imagine. They (the players) are teaching me as much as I'm trying to teach them.

"I had to be very patient with the transition, not knowing the league, the players, heck my own team for that matter. But it's really come around."

Gilmour made his junior coaching debut Nov. 21 after leaving his assistant coaching job with the AHL Marlies. And while the Frontenacs have been out of the Ontario Hockey League playoff picture all year, they have been playing at close to a .500 clip for the past 20 games or so, making things tough for the teams ahead of them in the standings.

They made it tough on fourth-place St. Mike's, taking an early 2-0 lead before finally being worn down by the Majors, who won for the eighth time in 11 games.

Jordan Mayer scored twice and William Wallen and Michael Pelech had the other Majors goals. Brian Lashoff, Ethan Werek and Andris Dzerins replied for Kingston.

"We're not trying to be spoilers, we're just trying to win hockey games," Gilmour said. "For the past month and a half, the guys have really bought in to what we've been preaching.

"But the work ethic has to continue. This is evaluation time for us and it's going to carry over into next year. This is a process and I'm looking forward to helping this organization get things turned around."

we'll be in the middle of the pack battling for playoff positioning."

Gilmour amassed 1,414 points in 1,474 career games and was one of the most creative and hard working offensive players of his era. Now he has to try and teach young players, many of whom aren't nearly as gifted with skills as he was. That fact, he says, and getting to know junior hockey again, have been his biggest challenges.

"I had to be very patient with the transition, not knowing the league, the players, heck my own team for that matter. But it's really come around. As you get to know the teams we're facing a little bit you start to feel more comfortable.

"I'm really looking forward to the future with this team."


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