Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour to highlight Lethbridge Hurricanes Celebrity Dinner

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He played in 1,474 NHL games, scoring 450 goals and recording 964 assists throughout his pro career.

Following his retirement, Gilmour was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. His jersey number 93 has also been retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gilmour was a key contributor to the Stanley Cup-winning Calgary Flames team in 1989. While speaking with LNN, he voiced excitement at making a return to Southern Alberta for the Hurricanes’ event.

Gilmour said, “It’s nice to go places that you’ve never been before, too, so for me to come to Lethbridge and say hi to everybody, and be a part of the Hurricanes family there, it should be a lot of fun.”

The Hurricanes Celebrity Sports Dinner will include a speech from Gilmour and a question-and-answer period, giving fans an opportunity to talk hockey with the Hall of Famer.

FROM PLAYER TO COACH

Once his playing days were over, Gilmour earned experience behind the bench, working as a player development advisor with the Toronto Maple Leafs and later as an assistant coach with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL).

After a brief stint with the Marlies, he became the head coach of his hometown Kingston Frontenacs, a junior team in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Gilmour followed his run as Kingston’s head coach by becoming the team’s general manager at the end of the 2010-2011 season.

He stepped down as general manager and became the Frontenacs’ president in 2017 before leaving the team to start his current role as a community ambassador for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019.

ADVICE TO YOUNG PLAYERS

Gilmour’s experience in management at the junior hockey level will be incorporated into his speech at the Hurricanes’ event in Lethbridge.

He said although the game of hockey has evolved since his playing days, his advice to younger players has remained the same. Gilmour noted that for players hoping to make it to the pros, a strong work ethic, and belief in oneself will go a long way to turning those dreams into a reality.

He said, “Everything’s kind of got to fall into place. You have to have work ethic the whole time, you have to have focus [and] you can’t do it without your teammates as well, so there’s a lot of things that go into it to get to that next level.”

Gilmour used an example from his time as general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs, when the team selected current Dallas Stars player Jason Robertson in the fifth-round of the 2015 OHL Draft.

“He came in, found a way to make the team, and he just improved,” Gilmour said.

“He worked hard, got himself into great shape and look at the success that he’s having now, and he wasn’t a top three round pick, he was a fifth-rounder, and he found a way to make it.”

AUTHOR

In 2017, Gilmour released a book about his life in hockey. He wrote the book on behalf of his parents.

He said, “I never really wanted to do a book and then after my parents passed on, I said, ‘you know what? I wish I would have done a book when they were around to have more input into it’.”

Like his advice to up-and-coming players, a major theme of the book revolves around perseverance, and not giving up on yourself when faced with adversity.

Gilmour said he was passed over in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility and was later selected in the seventh round by the St. Louis Blues.

Although he was frustrated at the time, he said, “It’s something that when you, I think more than anything, you have to focus and say ‘okay, I’m gonna be better next year and I’m gonna be better than these guys that were drafted before me’.”

“You can’t put your head down, you have to go after it and again, I had great linemates, great teammates and that’s a factor that goes into success as well.”

LOVE OF THE GAME

Although he does not rule out making a return to the bench, Gilmour said he is happy with the community ambassador position he is in with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He remarked, “I’m kind of past the stage where I’d want to be on the bench. It’s just something that, I don’t know, it’s time consuming and my body doesn’t like my hockey equipment anymore, so I’d rather sit in the bleachers and watch.”

However, Gilmour added, “If something came up and it felt good and it was good for my family and I, then I would look at it for sure.”

At the end of the day, the Hockey Hall of Famer said, “I love the game.”

Doug Gilmour will be at the Lethbridge Hurricanes Celebrity Sports Dinner on Saturday, January 28. Ticket information for the event is available at the Lethbridge Hurricanes website.

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