Carlos Verde, Communications Manager
Ottawa, Ont. —
At Barbara Ann Scott Arena, it’s tough to differentiate the dark-suited figure behind the Ottawa-West Golden Knights bench from the scratches in the stands.
Kevin Groulx — age 21 — is Ottawa-West’s new assistant coach, following a playing career that took him to every level of the junior-hockey pyramid in Ottawa.
He played 67 games in the then-EOJHL, had two 11-game stints with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s and then settled into a steady 134-game CCHL career split largely between Smiths Falls and Nepean.
“It’s something I started to look into in the middle of my junior career, when you have to make decisions on where your life is going to go,” says Groulx of his move behind the bench. “I’m still heavily involved, (but) I’ll obviously miss playing the game.”
He turned down offers from Nipissing and Toronto to continue playing at the CIS level, opting instead to focus on schooling and career development in Ottawa.
“I just finished a two-year business marketing program at Algonquin, which I was able to do full-time while playing Junior-A,” says the Stittsville native, who will start Algonquin’s sport-management program in September. “That’s something I pride myself on.”
His junior career gave him a vast array of experience, something he wants to pass on to the next generation of players.
“It was an unbelievable experience — I met so many good people and learned so much,” reflects Groulx. “From Chris Byrne signing me with the 67’s at 16, to working with Darryl Borden, who’s heavily involved with our reffing association. Great memories.”
While the decision to hang up his skates was not an easy one — it came down to moving to North Bay or Toronto to play versus staying home to coach and study — Groulx is convinced he’s giving himself the best chance of hockey and non-hockey success.
“I’m working a marketing coordinator job for a goalie school, which is right down my alley,” says the affable ex-Bear. “I’m also starting sport management, so I’m looking to climb the ladder as efficiently and professionally as possible — it’s an exciting time, your young 20s.”
His sights are set on success in two different worlds.
“If I can keep a level head, do the right things, build connections and continue to finish my schoolwork, I feel like I can climb the ladder on the business-marketing side and on the hockey side,” he continued.
And, during the late-night grind after a road game in Perth or before an exam at Algonquin, he has a bevy of junior-hockey memories to look back on fondly for motivation.
“Having experiences like playing for the hometown Ottawa 67’s, and a heritage-filled organization like the Smiths Falls Bears, where the town loves the team so much…all I can say is thank you to the game.”