Petes 2, 67’s 1 (SO)
James Boyd got a crash course in Ottawa 67’s history the very day he landed in Ottawa as a brash, 18-year-old winger via a trade from the Kitchener Rangers early in the 1994-95 season.
So when Boyd took over as 67’s general manager in 2017, one of the first tasks he and then head coach André Tourigny undertook was to educate the players of the present with the rich history of the Ontario Hockey League franchise.
The 67’s of today can see the work of the pair every time they head into the dressing room or out to the ice, with the walls of the corridor plastered with photos, milestones, record-setters, championships and just about everything 67’s imaginable.
The 67’s honored the past again Friday with a “legacy night,” but Carp’s Joe Carroll scored the winner in a shootout as the Peterborough Petes upended the hosts 2-1 before a crowd of 2,766 in The Arena at TD Place.
The pre-game reception hosted by 67’s legendary coach Brian Kilrea and longtime right-hand assistant Bert O’Brien included several former 67’s stars, the list of attendees limited only by uncertainty over whether people would be allowed back into the arena.
On hand were Phil Patterson, who braved the snow all the way from the Prescott Golf Course, Jeff Vaive, without his mullet, John Olson, scrappy John Odam, Ryan Van Stralen, the diminutive and close pal of Sean Monahan, Brett Gustafson, Dan Tessier, Julian Talbot and Jeremy Akeson.
The team even received regrets from the franchise’s first 50-goal scorer, Ottawa native Bryan McSheffery, who joined the 67’s in their second season, 1968-69, and scored 52 goals in 1971-72. The now 69-year-old McSheffery has relocated to Oakville.
Once the game began, they rolled out video of the 67’s from Opening Night in December 1967 to more modern times, played 67’s trivia between periods and even honored longtime 67’s director of security Janice Abson, with Kilrea presenting flowers to mark her recent retirement.
There were even videos from former 67’s Michael Peca and Tye Felhaber.
And, oh, about the game.
The 67’s Luca Pinelli counted the lone goal of the first period, while Carroll evened it for the Petes in the middle frame.
But way back to Boyd’s first night in Ottawa, he and Daryl Rivers, just picked up from the London Knights to help a rebuilding team that did include future National Hockey League players Alan McCauley, Shean Donovan and Kevin Weekes, but not a whole lot else in terms of star power.
“Apparently we were going to have to wait to find billets, so we end up at Killer’s house to stay,” Boyd said Friday. “It was basically just dump your bags at the door and down we headed to Killer’s basement.
“The first thing we saw was all the pictures of Hall of Famers Killer had coached… all of them signed, of course.
“There were pictures of guys on his walls that I never realized played here, and it gave you a jolt seeing all these special players.”
Adding to Boyd’s fast-track on learning about the 67’s was the fact the head coach at the time was Peter Lee, who had set an Ontario Hockey League career goal-scoring mark of 213 goals, which lasted 33 years until John Tavares broke it in 2009. And Boyd was quick to learn that Lee also held the OHL record for goals in a single season, 81 in 1975-76.
Boyd the player lasted just one season with the 67’s before Kilrea dealt him to the Belleville Bulls. By the time Boyd returned 22 years later as GM, the franchise was in the midst of preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“There were 50-goal scorers and ex-NHL players around that year. We got to meet some of the guys from the early years,” Boyd said. “That was another jolt in 67’s history for us all.
“And one of the things we wanted to do was reconnect with that history. The moment André and I got here, we said, ‘Where are all the pictures?’ and we started rounding them up.
“Then we started looking at up the records. I mean, just something like the numbers by Denis Potvin, Bruce Cassidy and Bryan Campbell… they are amazing for the kids to look at. And that photo of Brad Shaw hoisting the Memorial Cup is an epic.”
Boyd said in his travels he can barely visit a rink without meeting somebody with 67’s connections.
“Then there’s the 67’s represented every year at the league and CHL level,” Boyd said. “The Bill Long Award and the Brian Kilrea Award. The 67’s history is everywhere.”