Official Ottawa 67's Booster Club
Brian Kilrea "Killer"
HEAD COACH AND GENERAL MANAGER
When we were given some time to go into Brian Kilrea's office we were pretty excited. When we told other people that we got to go in, most people seemed amazed we can't figure out why. He may be called "Killer", but he was anything but to us. We started off by asking him just a few simple questions about what he liked seeing as no one really asks him those questions in his interviews.
What is your favorite TV show?
Well, anything in sports to be starting, and then Colombo. If I had to pick, I'll watch Colombo and then I'll tape it and watch it again, so there is no doubt that Colombo is number one after sports.
Who is your favorite singer?
Anne Murray, she's right there... (Brian turned around a framed picture sitting on his desk and showed it to us. The picture was of him and her together at the Civic Centre) Yeah, anyway, Anne Murray and then if theres another one its Nana Miskurie, I like them both. I have a lot of their disks and I play them a lot.
What is your favorite dinner meal?
Well, I just like chicken. Chicken would be my favorite food, I could eat chicken I think almost every day of the week. There is nothing that I can't eat or enjoy, but chicken is number one.
What is your favorite book?
Well, I read a lot of Agatha Christie books and I enjoy them.
How old were you when you started playing hockey and how did you get started?
I was only a youngin', my dad put skates on me, we went down to the rink and just fell around like everybody else when you're three or four and then I eventually took to playing. I skated and went to school, played in a public school but nothing was organized that early but you always found a place to play.
What position did you play when you finally joined a team and why did you choose that position?
Well, I was always a centre man. One year, I tired goal and I found out that I was not very good, but that's only because we had another goalie. Other then that, I have always played centre ice.
How did you get the nickname killer?
Well, I think it came for the name, "Kilrea" and Kill and whatever else so, it's really just a take off of my name. But it started when I was back in one of Detroit's camps up in Sault Ste. Marie and I was assigned from the Detroit Camp to Detroit, Ohio and they said were going to get this guy Kill, Killer or something like that and anyway, the Coach of Detroit and a fellow by the name of Steve Gabber came to watch me play, he was his best player and he said well if he's a Killer he's a baby face killer. So the baby face was dropped and Killer stayed and so I've been Killer ever since.
What is the most memorable thing that a fan has ever done while you were either coaching or playing?
A fan? I really don't watch or know what the fans do, obviously you know if there is Crazy George around or some of the Mascots, but I don't look up in the seats so I don't really know. But there are some certain fans in certain rinks that try to be vocal and try to upset you or say remarks but you try to ignore them because that's all they are there for is to see if they can antagonize you.
How many years have you been married and how did your wife deal with the traveling at first?
Well, she knew I was a hockey player when we got married and so we had the fun of traveling with the family, and she looked after them when I was playing and luckily we bought a home here (in Ottawa) when we were first married and then all the way back to Ottawa so the travel was usually all routine there and back. She put up with it because she understood it but I think she's really happy that I was lucky enough to be coaching in Ottawa so there are no more moves.
What do you like to do in your time away form Hockey?
Well, I like to scout and I like to watch TV but I find that the days are a little bit long for my scouting now so I rely on your local scouts and our scouts around the province to do that job. I enjoy it every once in a while but when I get away from the rink I just enjoy going home where it is quiet and watching TV.
What do you find most rewarding about coaching?
Probably the success a team can have and players fulfilling their game. If they get the chance to play pro or travel to Europe or go to the States and play in a lesser league but have the fun doing it, seeing them do that. Also, seeing them come through get their education and go out in the work force or staying here in Ottawa and be part of our community. They are all things that you are proud of.
What is the hardest part about being coach to junior hockey players?
Well training camp is probably the toughest because you've got all theses kids that have traveled to get there and they know that they've got four days to make a team and then they are all working to be here and you have to go down and tell them that they are not going to make the team. If me that's tough and once you pick your team the toughest part is sometimes we have an extra player or two and telling them that they are not going to dress for that night, because everyone wants a chance to play. The only problem is, when you carry 21, 22 or 23 players sometimes and you don't have any injuries then somebody has to sit and that's tough because all the kids want to play.
Although every player is different, what piece of advice do you try to instill in them all?
They better have fun while they are playing hockey or with what ever they are doing. They better enjoy what they are doing because if they don't enjoy it then it only becomes a job and tedious and then you look for the wrong things. If you're having fun and enjoying it that's the most important part.
Many players often comment how you made them a better person off ice, what is something that you have learned from your players?
Well I have learned that you have to trust them. You have to give them a little bit of reign. They have to have fun while they are here. As long as they respect the house rules where they live and the team rules where they play. There is still time to go out and have fun and be respectful where ever they are and I've tried to be a help to them should they need it.
How can you tell when a player will be able to fill the position of captain? What qualities do you look for?
It's always leadership for one thing and respect for another and sometimes longevity for another. If someone has been with you for three or four years and is one of your better players you're going to have to reward him. I've found that you always try to pick the player that the players would want to represent them and who would really want to represent the Ottawa 67's.
Throughout the years hockey has evolved and changed a lot. What do you think is the best thing about all the changes and what do you think is the worst thing?
Well, it is easy to go with the worst. I think the worst thing to ever happen to Hockey is the trap. It just takes the freedom out of the game, the skill out of the game, the beauty and the speed. The trap doesn't allow you to be creative, doesn't allow you to skate. It allows teams to be able to stay close but that is their objective, and their objective it to win and hopefully get enough points to get into the playoffs and whatever. They do what they have to do to win but when you think of the game the way it use to be played, when it was a little bit more wide open and individual talent showed through. What I think is the best is some of the players that you see and knowing that you may never see the likes of them again. I grew up in the era where I could see Gordie Howe, John Belleveau, Rocket Richard, Bobby Or and Wayne Gretzky and now the tail end of Mario Lemeux. So you start thinking, who will be the next great players what are coming up? After that group, who are the ones that are going to carry the ball in hockey down the road?
Do you ever get tired of riding the bus? Or going on road trips? What are some of your fondest memories or stories about these trips?
You do get tired but I don't get tired to the point where I'm not going to do it anymore because it is part of the game. I don't mind getting on a bus and sitting through the miles and miles. If you go on a trip where you are gone for three or four or five days it gets a little bit tedious. But you know, getting on a bus watching the country side go by it great in day light. Naturally, we do a lot of night driving but I enjoy looking out and enjoying the country and seeing the sites and sitting with the fellowship that we have in the front of the bus. Those things don't bother me. The players participation sometimes, we've had some characters get on the bus and come up and take the mic and be like the master of ceremonies and do some funny things and keep the kids amused. So, some kids are creative and that's another one of those things, if they are having fun doing it, do it.
How will you know when it is time to retire?
Well, I thought I knew a few years back when I retired but it had a lot to do with a few things in my body that went wrong. When I got healthy again I came back and I felt better and now I feel good. Eventually I realize that time catches up with everybody and so I'll know because if the kids aren't having fun and I'm not having fun then it will be time to let someone else have some fun doing what I am doing.
What do you think you would have done had you not decided to coach or play hockey?
I don't know, that's a tough one because I wasn't a genius in school, oh I could get by and this being before the time of computers where it was just hard work that would get you a job, I've never had trouble getting a job. I don't know had there been anything and one thing that would have attracted me to work there the rest of my life. I know I had my heart set on sports and I was lucky enough to be able to stay in sports.
What do you think is your greatest achievement inside and outside of hockey?
Probably the greatest achievement outside of hockey would be getting married and having my wife bringing up out family. She did a great job there while I was out hockey wise. To me that's an achievement that she deserves and inside hockey it obviously the kids that come through here and if I can help them in a small way on or off the ice then that's great too.