Recalling 38 years of Hamilton junior hockey

Community Jun 16, 2015 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

It’s a pretty impressive group of alumni.

Cam Talbot, Zac Rinaldo, Keith Primeau, Steve Staios, Marty McSorley, Rick Nattress and Frank Caprice are among former Hamilton Kilty B’s and Hamilton Red Wings junior hockey  players that went on to play in the National Hockey League.

Scores of others went on to star in the Ontario Hockey League, obtain a hockey scholarship at an NCAA university or play pro hockey in the American Hockey League or Europe.

But after 38 years of turning out quality players the final chapter of the Kilty B’s-Red Wings saga was written this past April when team owner Stuart Hyman moved the Ontario Junior Hockey League club to Markham.

Among those who are sad to see the franchise leave town is Mountain resident Bob Nichols, who along with the late Dr. Bob McMillan, a local sports medicine pioneer, founded the Hamilton Kilty B’s that would later become the Red Wings.

Both had worked with other junior hockey teams in Hamilton and Nichols noted the new club was named after a county in Scotland.

The new Junior B franchise played its first game in the Golden Horseshoe Junior B loop in October 1977.

George Moore was the team’s first head coach.

Nichols said the team was started to give elite local hockey players a place to play after minor hockey and both he and McMillan were adamant that the Kiltys’ roster be comprised mostly of local teens.

“If you look at our teams over the years, there were very few imports,” Nichols said. “The one thing Doc (McMillan) wanted was that all the players were treated royally and they were.”

Unlike Junior A hockey today where players pay upwards of $2,500 in team and league fees, Nichols said players did not pay to play for the Kiltys.

“We paid for their equipment, their skates and if they wanted to go to school they got a free education,” he said.

Nichols noted the non-profit organization raised many thousands of dollars over the years through charity bingo games and by selling Nevada tickets.

He also credits the late Blair Wray who was brought in as team general manager with helping build a financially solid and competitive club.

“He was the first to arrive and the last to leave every game,” said Penny Wray who accompanied her husband to hundreds of home and away games over 13 years.

The Kiltys won their only Golden Horseshoe championship before more than 2,000 fans at Mountain Arena in 1993 and the following season they moved up to tier two Junior A and won the West championship in the Provincial Junior A league before another packed house on Hester Street.

Glenn Walsh was the head coach for both championships.

“I still remember the games being delayed sometimes because of the line-up of people trying to get into the Hester Street rink,” recalled Matt Turek who was a member of the West Conference winning squad. “The Kiltys were the go-to organization where everyone wanted to play.”

By the late ‘90s the franchise was in need of some new blood and then Hamilton minor hockey president (now minor hockey chair) Peter Martin was brought on board as team president.

By 2001 Martin saw that revenue from bingos and Nevada tickets were declining and a large cash infusion would eventually be needed to keep the club going.

“I was projecting (that over) the next five or six years someone was going to have to put in a hundred grand and I wasn’t prepared to do that,” Martin said.

In 2002 Hyman, who had the resources to fund a Junior A hockey club, was brought in by team GM Robert Turnbull to take over the franchise and the team’s name was changed to Red Wings.

In 2007 the Red Wings won the franchise’s second Junior A West championship with John McDonald as head coach and a roster made up of mostly local players.

McDonald left after the 2006-2007 season and the team’s fortunes began to sag.

More and more players from outside of Hamilton, including  Hyman’s sons, were brought in and fan attendance started to dwindle.

The club missed the playoffs the last three seasons, including the 2013-14 campaign when McDonald was brought back and attempted to resurrect the franchise with local talent, but he was gone again in the spring following a disagreement with Hyman over the direction of the team.

Despite the Red Wings’ recent history there remains hope another junior hockey franchise might return to the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena someday.

“I still believe that Hamilton should have a Junior B team and they would be more than competitive if they were handled right,” Nichols said.

Recalling 38 years of Hamilton junior hockey

Kiltys-Red Wings produced lots of home-grown talent

Community Jun 16, 2015 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

It’s a pretty impressive group of alumni.

Cam Talbot, Zac Rinaldo, Keith Primeau, Steve Staios, Marty McSorley, Rick Nattress and Frank Caprice are among former Hamilton Kilty B’s and Hamilton Red Wings junior hockey  players that went on to play in the National Hockey League.

Scores of others went on to star in the Ontario Hockey League, obtain a hockey scholarship at an NCAA university or play pro hockey in the American Hockey League or Europe.

But after 38 years of turning out quality players the final chapter of the Kilty B’s-Red Wings saga was written this past April when team owner Stuart Hyman moved the Ontario Junior Hockey League club to Markham.

Among those who are sad to see the franchise leave town is Mountain resident Bob Nichols, who along with the late Dr. Bob McMillan, a local sports medicine pioneer, founded the Hamilton Kilty B’s that would later become the Red Wings.

Both had worked with other junior hockey teams in Hamilton and Nichols noted the new club was named after a county in Scotland.

The new Junior B franchise played its first game in the Golden Horseshoe Junior B loop in October 1977.

George Moore was the team’s first head coach.

Nichols said the team was started to give elite local hockey players a place to play after minor hockey and both he and McMillan were adamant that the Kiltys’ roster be comprised mostly of local teens.

“If you look at our teams over the years, there were very few imports,” Nichols said. “The one thing Doc (McMillan) wanted was that all the players were treated royally and they were.”

Unlike Junior A hockey today where players pay upwards of $2,500 in team and league fees, Nichols said players did not pay to play for the Kiltys.

“We paid for their equipment, their skates and if they wanted to go to school they got a free education,” he said.

Nichols noted the non-profit organization raised many thousands of dollars over the years through charity bingo games and by selling Nevada tickets.

He also credits the late Blair Wray who was brought in as team general manager with helping build a financially solid and competitive club.

“He was the first to arrive and the last to leave every game,” said Penny Wray who accompanied her husband to hundreds of home and away games over 13 years.

The Kiltys won their only Golden Horseshoe championship before more than 2,000 fans at Mountain Arena in 1993 and the following season they moved up to tier two Junior A and won the West championship in the Provincial Junior A league before another packed house on Hester Street.

Glenn Walsh was the head coach for both championships.

“I still remember the games being delayed sometimes because of the line-up of people trying to get into the Hester Street rink,” recalled Matt Turek who was a member of the West Conference winning squad. “The Kiltys were the go-to organization where everyone wanted to play.”

By the late ‘90s the franchise was in need of some new blood and then Hamilton minor hockey president (now minor hockey chair) Peter Martin was brought on board as team president.

By 2001 Martin saw that revenue from bingos and Nevada tickets were declining and a large cash infusion would eventually be needed to keep the club going.

“I was projecting (that over) the next five or six years someone was going to have to put in a hundred grand and I wasn’t prepared to do that,” Martin said.

In 2002 Hyman, who had the resources to fund a Junior A hockey club, was brought in by team GM Robert Turnbull to take over the franchise and the team’s name was changed to Red Wings.

In 2007 the Red Wings won the franchise’s second Junior A West championship with John McDonald as head coach and a roster made up of mostly local players.

McDonald left after the 2006-2007 season and the team’s fortunes began to sag.

More and more players from outside of Hamilton, including  Hyman’s sons, were brought in and fan attendance started to dwindle.

The club missed the playoffs the last three seasons, including the 2013-14 campaign when McDonald was brought back and attempted to resurrect the franchise with local talent, but he was gone again in the spring following a disagreement with Hyman over the direction of the team.

Despite the Red Wings’ recent history there remains hope another junior hockey franchise might return to the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena someday.

“I still believe that Hamilton should have a Junior B team and they would be more than competitive if they were handled right,” Nichols said.

Recalling 38 years of Hamilton junior hockey

Kiltys-Red Wings produced lots of home-grown talent

Community Jun 16, 2015 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

It’s a pretty impressive group of alumni.

Cam Talbot, Zac Rinaldo, Keith Primeau, Steve Staios, Marty McSorley, Rick Nattress and Frank Caprice are among former Hamilton Kilty B’s and Hamilton Red Wings junior hockey  players that went on to play in the National Hockey League.

Scores of others went on to star in the Ontario Hockey League, obtain a hockey scholarship at an NCAA university or play pro hockey in the American Hockey League or Europe.

But after 38 years of turning out quality players the final chapter of the Kilty B’s-Red Wings saga was written this past April when team owner Stuart Hyman moved the Ontario Junior Hockey League club to Markham.

Among those who are sad to see the franchise leave town is Mountain resident Bob Nichols, who along with the late Dr. Bob McMillan, a local sports medicine pioneer, founded the Hamilton Kilty B’s that would later become the Red Wings.

Both had worked with other junior hockey teams in Hamilton and Nichols noted the new club was named after a county in Scotland.

The new Junior B franchise played its first game in the Golden Horseshoe Junior B loop in October 1977.

George Moore was the team’s first head coach.

Nichols said the team was started to give elite local hockey players a place to play after minor hockey and both he and McMillan were adamant that the Kiltys’ roster be comprised mostly of local teens.

“If you look at our teams over the years, there were very few imports,” Nichols said. “The one thing Doc (McMillan) wanted was that all the players were treated royally and they were.”

Unlike Junior A hockey today where players pay upwards of $2,500 in team and league fees, Nichols said players did not pay to play for the Kiltys.

“We paid for their equipment, their skates and if they wanted to go to school they got a free education,” he said.

Nichols noted the non-profit organization raised many thousands of dollars over the years through charity bingo games and by selling Nevada tickets.

He also credits the late Blair Wray who was brought in as team general manager with helping build a financially solid and competitive club.

“He was the first to arrive and the last to leave every game,” said Penny Wray who accompanied her husband to hundreds of home and away games over 13 years.

The Kiltys won their only Golden Horseshoe championship before more than 2,000 fans at Mountain Arena in 1993 and the following season they moved up to tier two Junior A and won the West championship in the Provincial Junior A league before another packed house on Hester Street.

Glenn Walsh was the head coach for both championships.

“I still remember the games being delayed sometimes because of the line-up of people trying to get into the Hester Street rink,” recalled Matt Turek who was a member of the West Conference winning squad. “The Kiltys were the go-to organization where everyone wanted to play.”

By the late ‘90s the franchise was in need of some new blood and then Hamilton minor hockey president (now minor hockey chair) Peter Martin was brought on board as team president.

By 2001 Martin saw that revenue from bingos and Nevada tickets were declining and a large cash infusion would eventually be needed to keep the club going.

“I was projecting (that over) the next five or six years someone was going to have to put in a hundred grand and I wasn’t prepared to do that,” Martin said.

In 2002 Hyman, who had the resources to fund a Junior A hockey club, was brought in by team GM Robert Turnbull to take over the franchise and the team’s name was changed to Red Wings.

In 2007 the Red Wings won the franchise’s second Junior A West championship with John McDonald as head coach and a roster made up of mostly local players.

McDonald left after the 2006-2007 season and the team’s fortunes began to sag.

More and more players from outside of Hamilton, including  Hyman’s sons, were brought in and fan attendance started to dwindle.

The club missed the playoffs the last three seasons, including the 2013-14 campaign when McDonald was brought back and attempted to resurrect the franchise with local talent, but he was gone again in the spring following a disagreement with Hyman over the direction of the team.

Despite the Red Wings’ recent history there remains hope another junior hockey franchise might return to the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena someday.

“I still believe that Hamilton should have a Junior B team and they would be more than competitive if they were handled right,” Nichols said.