A new job, a new hockey season, a new book, and a new beer.
Needless to say, Maple Leafs legend Doug Gilmour has been busy.
Call it a labour of love.
“I feel very fortunate,” Gilmour said during a visit I had with him Saturday at his home near Kingston. “I get to do what I love to do.”
He looks great. Fit and trim.
They always said No. 93 didn’t have enough weight on him to play with the big boys. But at 54 and long into NHL retirement, he still hasn’t put on the pounds and looks as though he could still play.
He has a smile on his face and a spring in his step. Life is good.
On His New Role with the Kingston Frontenacs:
“While I am still very much involved with the on ice part of things (and is still the director of hockey operations), I have handed the general manager duties over to Darren Kelly while I focus on being team president,” he said. “I love training camp because you get to see the young talent of tomorrow show their skill. “I think we are going to have four strong lines this year and while we are a young team, we will battle.”
Part of the reason he gave up the GM duties is he will be spending time this winter on a cross-North America tour to promote his book, which will be a fantastic Christmas present for hockey fans in general and certainly Maple Leaf fans still marvelling over his amazing playoff performances in the early 1990s. And also, too, for those in Calgary who remember very well how he scored the winning goal for the Flames in the 1989 Stanley Cup finals.
On His New Book: Killer: My Life in Hockey:
“I never wanted to do a book but they talked me into it,” he said with a laugh. “It will be a lot about growing up around here (in Kingston) and my 20 years in the NHL and all the adventures.”
He said it was an emotional journey but he hopes his underdog story, co-written with Pat Quinn’s biographer Dan Robson, will be inspirational for others who have big dreams. It has lots of stories about his dad, Don, mom, Dolly, and siblings, including older brother Dave, who played in the WHA and “taught me a lot” about how to play the game.
“There are couple of crazy chapters in there,” he said. “I think you are going to like it.”
On His New Beer:
“I think it’s really fantastic,” said Gilmour, handing me a can. It’s a product of Cobden, Ontario’s Whitewater Brewing, which describes KLR93 as “a 4.6% percentage of alcohol and 25 IBU Kolsch-style ale.”
Killer admits he thinks it’s pretty cool to have his face and name on his own beer. “I would never have expected something like that.”
The new beer has been popular in the Ottawa Valley and also in bars in Kingston. I have a feeling you are going to see it be a hit in Toronto, too.
On The Coming Maple Leafs Season:
“As a fan, I am so excited about it. The team and the young players did so much last year that I understand the scrutiny they are going to feel. A lot of those players will go from $800,000 a year to $3 million, which means that’s a big chunk against the salary cap and that’s pressure because you are expected to do what you did the year before.”
The problem, said Gilmour, is the teams they are playing will have their best shutdown guys on players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Nazem Kadri and William Nylander.
“But they know this and that’s what this game is about: Adjusting. I love those players and they will work through that and the fans should not be too hard on them as they do. They have such good coaching and I love Lou Lamoriello, who has his finger on the pulse of everything, including what is happening with his young stars.”
On A Possible NHL Return As Coach or Manager:
“I love the Kingston Frontenacs and the time I have with my family,” he said. “I am not saying never but it would have to be the perfect opportunity and I think I would only do it for three years. At this point, I haven’t applied for anything like that and am very happy with my situation now.”
It’s clear Doug Gilmour has been hard at work post his hockey-playing days. But it’s not all work, he admits.
“I still watch a lot of hockey,” he said. “At the core of it, I am a hockey fan.