Gilmour embraces challenges

Katie Brickman
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Hall of Famer was key-note speaker at banquet

On the ice, Doug Gilmour was called Killer.

Doug Gilmour was a speaker at the K+S Potash Canada Kinsmen Celebrity Sports Banquet on Saturday evening at the Heritage Inn. Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie

That nickname was earned partly for his gritty play and partly due to his resemblance to serial killer Charles Manson, according to teammate Brian Sutter.

Off the ice, Gilmour is knowledgeable of the state of the game and down to earth.

“I just think with the new rules, the equipment and the conditioning – everything has changed in hockey. For smaller players, the new rules benefit,” Gilmour said. “There are a lot of skill and speed out there. It is fun to watch.”

Gilmour was in Moose Jaw for the K+S Potash Canada Kinsmen Celebrity Sports Banquet on Saturday at the Heritage Inn.

The Times-Herald was able to speak with the Hall of Famer prior to his guest appearance at the dinner, where a variety of topics were discussed, including him wearing a toque and play outdoor shinny with kids on his days off when he played in Calgary and Toronto.

Gilmour donned three Original Six jerseys in his 20-year career, but he ended as one of the most recognizable Toronto Maple Leafs ever.

He also once played for the Leafs’ hatred rival, the Montreal Canadiens.

“Both were different. The ownership was phenomenal. That was with George Gillette at the time,” said Gilmour on his time in Montreal. “I think the Toronto people were a little shocked, but they got over that.”

The Leafs did get over it as he returned for a second stint in Toronto before retiring in 2003.

He laced up the skates again as he played in the alumni game as a member of the Leafs at Comerica Park prior to the Winter Classic on New Years. 

“It was really cool to play in something like that,” Gilmour said.

Since retiring from playing, Gilmour has turned his attention to helping young players reach their dreams of becoming professional hockey players.

He was the head coach for three seasons before taking on the reins of general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

“Kingston came calling,” Gilmour said. “ It felt right because it was my home town.”

It wasn’t an easy transition in the beginning, but it looks like the team will be in the playoffs in back-to-back years. The Frontenacs currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference of the OHL.

“It is a difficult job, especially in training camp when you have to cut kids or you have to trade kids,” he said. “ The rewarding side is that some of these kids finish junior and move on to the university programs and you see them excel at school and hockey and see the ones that move on to the NHL or AHL. You see them live their dream. That is very rewarding.”

Now that he has been with the club for six years, Gilmour might be eyeing up another opportunity.

“This year, my contract is up. I am not too sure. I have been offered to go back to Kingston for at least three more years. I am contemplating coaching again somewhere else ... it would be in Europe. I am just looking at it right now. I have a meeting coming up to hear them out and see what it is all about,” stated Gilmour. “I wasn’t even thinking about it. This came out of nowhere. This is where I am at right now, but I don’t want to get ahead of it. It could be a pipe dream as well. I am just going to sit back and listen to what they have to say. Probably if it is for real, I will make a decision in a month-and-a-half.”

Time will tell where the Stanley Cup champion will end up, but for a person who was always told he was too small to make it, is now making the most of his experience.

 “I might need a new challenge,” he said.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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