Kilrea 'glad' for former 67's-turned champs

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

There were smiles across Ottawa as the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup.

67’s GM Brian Kilrea was glued to his television throughout the playoffs. He couldn’t have been happier watching former 67’s Nick Boynton, Brian Campbell and Bryan Bickell win the coveted mug.

Kilrea has a lot of special feelings for defencemen Boynton and Campbell, who helped the 67’s win the Memorial Cup in 1999 at the Civic Centre.

“They played together their very first year in Ottawa (in 1995),” Kilrea recalled. “I told them they were going to run the power play, so they should stay together and work together. So, they did.

“I’m glad for both of those kids. They’ve won a Memorial Cup and now a Stanley Cup. You think of Boynton and Campbell, they were mainstays on our team and here they are together winning a Stanley Cup. It’s a great thrill. Everybody’s dream is to be in the Stanley Cup. They’ve achieved it.”

Bickell, a winger and Bowmanville native, played for Kilrea from 2002-06.

Kilrea said he’ll try to contact all three players in the next couple of days to send along his congratulations.

“I’m pretty sure they’re busy right now and they’re celebrating,” said Kilrea. “I’ll definitely try to get a hold of them and wish them all the best.”

Other Ottawa connections on the ’Hawks include wingers Ben Eager, who was born in the city, and Marian Hossa, who was drafted 12th overall by the Senators in 1997.

Hossa, who played six seasons in Ottawa before he was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers for Dany Heatley in August 2005, always had the heart of a champion.

He was playing his third straight final after losing with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 and Detroit Red Wings last spring, making this triumph all the sweeter.

“The first text I got from (his wife) Andrea (Thursday) morning was, ‘Marian won a Cup,’ said former Senators winger Shawn McEachern, who is on a fishing trip outside the Boston area where he lives.

“You feel really good for a guy like ‘Hoss’ because he’s worked hard to get there and he plays the right way. He’s a great guy. He may score 40 goals, but he’s also the first one back in the other end backchecking.”

Hossa was one of the most well-liked players in the Senators’ dressing room.

“You felt best for ‘Hoss’ because if they had lost again, it would have been one of those stigmas that was attached to him,” said Randy Lee, the Senators’ director of player development and hockey administration who has been with the club since Day 1.

“I was so happy for him. When you saw his face when he took the Cup, that was so innocent and his response was so genuine. I was so impressed. That was just a genuine sense of pride and accomplishment.”


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