When I was 14 or 15, I wrote a letter to Brian Kilrea telling him how he had inspired me to work in hockey.

When I was 20, I interviewed Brian Kilrea after a game and when the interview was over I told him that, as an aside, I needed him to know that he was a hero of mine. He hugged me.

Between those two events, I spent every Friday night and a lot of Sunday afternoons of my adolescence cheering on the 67’s and their storied coach. I wore my jersey to school every game day; I skipped a week of school when they hosted and won the Memorial Cup; I didn’t miss a single game the season they won the OHL championships. In fact, that year I was supposed to be away for university and when I made a very sudden change of plans, the first thing I did was buy myself my season tickets.

The Ottawa 67’s, and by extension Brian Kilrea, made up a lot of my formative years, and certainly made them better. I would have been all the more lost without my 67’s games to go to and my players to cheer for.

Every week I had something to look forward to, and for that I thank Brian Kilrea, who always put a quality team on the ice.

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