Original King bookened his HOF career with Fox and Toffoli

A Killer goodbye (photo by: TotalPhoto.ca)

In October 1967, Brian Kilrea scored the first goal in Los Angeles Kings history.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.

Make no mistake about it though, it had nothing to do with his time in the NHL, where he played a grand total of 26 games and scored three goals.

Killer, as he’s affectionately known in hockey circles, has largely spent the past 35-plus years either behind the bench or in the front office of the Ottawa 67′s, one of the OHL’s most successful teams.

He began his coaching career in 1974-75 and three years later his roster included a short whippersnapper from Coniston, Ontario …and knowing Foxy now, he probably had the best hair on the team, even back then.

Jim Fox honed his craft under the tutelage of Kilrea for three seasons, before being selected in the first round by the Kings in the 1980 NHL Draft.

When it was announced on Wednesday that Kilrea was stepping down from his day to day activities with the 67′s, Fox was eager to speak out on the man who guided him early in his career.

“Playing for Brain, he was a teacher and a motivator, but he also understood how to make it enjoyable for everyone who played for him,” said Fox. “I think the thing that separates him from others is that he was able to combine all of the serious aspects of hockey with the fun that everyone should have.”

Fox also has a clear understanding of how Kilrea helped develop his play on the ice – “He nurtured the creativity I had in my game. He allowed you to step outside the box every once and a while and try some things offensively that maybe other coaches would not have allowed to happen. By doing that, he allowed me to build confidence in myself and understand that I could be successful with the puck and make plays with it.”

As for Kilrea’s place in history, “Brain’s record speaks for itself, it’s unquestioned,” proclaimed Fox. “His long term commitment to the game, and more specifically to the Ottawa 67′s, may be the biggest reason he is in the Hall of Fame.”

Some 30 years later, the Kings drafted another Kilrea coached player, Tyler Toffoli.

Although Toffoli only had him as a coach for his first season in Ottawa (2008-09), Kilrea has continued to play an integral role in Toffoli’s development while serving as the 67′s general manager.

“Even the last two seasons, when he wasn’t behind the bench, he definitely helped me out,” explained Toffoli. “He would come in when I was having a few tough games and he would just tell me what to do, the little things. You listen to him because you know he’s such a great role model in the world of hockey. Every time I listened to him, things started to turn around. I just tried to take everything that he told me in and use it somehow.”

It’s only a small part of the greatness that is Brain Kilrea, as his links to the Kings’ organization remain strong some 44 years after he netted that first goal.

At the beginning of last season, Kilrea stopped by MayorsManor to talk about that moment back in ’67, discusses key achievements in his career, plus share some thoughts on Toffoli and Fox. Links to those articles can be found below.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES:

Interview with Brain Kilrea – talking first goal, Fox, Rychel, Toffoli, etc.

OHL Season Preview with Brian Kilrea – talking Memorial Cup, draft manipulation and more

Interview with OHL scoring champion Tyler Toffoli

Pre-camp interview with Tyler Toffoli – July 2011

Coach Murray on Kozun and Toffoli camp performance

Shop for Los Angeles Kings Gear at Shop.NHLcom!Shop.NHL.com

Recent Articles

Kings Roster Questions

Training Camp Open, Kings Trade Coming Next

Last summer, Dean Lombardi and his staff spent hours, days, and weeks-on-end agonizing over the salary cap. How were they going to get certain people re-signed, fit everybody under the cap, and make it all work without damaging their future wiggle room? In the end, Lombardi and Jeff Solomon, his key right hand in these [...]

Bodnarchuk-AHL-Manchester

Kings Camp Preview: 7 Questions with Dman Andrew Bodnarchuk

Even without suiting up for a single NHL game, one could argue that last season was a career best for Manchester Monarchs defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk. In his sixth professional season, the former Bruins draft pick put up 32 points, 12 more than his previous best of 20. On top of that, his +43 rating left [...]

Zykov Valentin Kings

Rookie Game 2: Zykov Shines Kings put away Coyotes

A band of the Kings top prospects bounced back with a 3-1 win over the Coyotes rookies in their second meeting in two days at Gila River Arena on Wednesday after losing the previous meeting 4-1. The Kings came out hard and outmuscled the Coyotes to take control of the game and never really let [...]

Major News Items

Manchester Monarchs MayorsManor Kings by Blake Gumprecht

MAJOR NEWS: Kings Preparing To Move Top Prospects To SoCal

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com Follow @mayorNHL In a story that MayorsManor has been chasing for the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News