Longtime Ottawa 67's general manager Brian Kilrea has announced that he is retiring at the end of the season, handing over a position he has held for 35 of the past 37 years.
Kilrea will hand over the reins to coach Chris Byrne, who will assume both jobs at the start of next season.
"Chris is ready. It is one of those things where I knew it was time," Kilrea told The Toronto Sun. "This will give me a little bit more time to do some other things: golf a little bit more and have a little bit more freedom away from the office. It's a perfect time. I'll still be involved in the scouting area. There will be less time to do things at the rink, more time to scout, but also more time to have fun."
Kilrea told the newspaper that there was no sadness when he informed owner Jeff Hunt he will give up his role as GM.
"I think Jeff expected it," said Kilrea. "It wasn't sad. I knew what I wanted to do. It was just a matter of telling (Hunt). I had told (Byrne) before so it wasn't that tough. I knew it was the right time so it was easy. I just said I wanted to be involved in the scouting."
Kilrea first started with the 67's in 1974 and has 1,193 victories behind the bench, along with two Memorial Cup victories in 1984 and 1999. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category in 2003, and shortly after the induction the CHL Coach of the Year Award was renamed the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award in his honour.