June 19, 2014

67's Announced Brown, Higgins as New Brass

The Ottawa 67’s named their eighth coach in team history on Thursday, bringing in ex-OHLer, ex-NHLer and two-time junior champion Jeff Brown as their new bench boss.

The move comes after the USHL champion Indiana Ice were ruled dormant for the 2015 season, leaving Brown, their head coach, without a job this year.

“This just feels right,” said Brown in his first press conference as Ottawa’s coach.  “I've certainly come full circle.  It's a dream job for me.”

“I just love this level, and I can't wait to get started to bring this team back to where they need to be.”

Brown vows to bring an exciting style while still preaching accountability.

“You can't have fun without working hard, that's going to be the message.  We're going to do things with character and integrity.  We're going to raise good young men here.”

Before coming to Ottawa, Brown won a championship in one of his six seasons in the NAHL with the St. Louis Bandits, before winning another championship in his first full year in Indiana.

Why not us?

Brown admits that he hasn’t had a lot of time to look at the roster, but his plan is to have a competitive team instantly.

“We went from worst-to-first in Indy, I never would’ve thought we’d do that, so anything’s possible here.  We have a good nucleus coming back, and we think why not us?”

In 2012, Brown joined a 7-16-1 Indiana squad at the bottom of the standings, and helped turn them into a championship team 16 months later.

The 67’s, much alike the Ice, have bottomed out in their conference two years in a row.

Local Connection

To say that the past two years didn’t feel like traditional 67’s hockey would be an understatement. 

Playing in Kanata and uncharacteristically missing the playoffs consecutively was unheard of in Ottawa’s junior hockey community.

All of a sudden, the classic feel is back.

Along with the hometown Brown coming on board, long-time assistant Pat Higgins was also introduced as the team’s new general manager on Thursday.

“Nobody has the same passion for this team as Pat,” said Jeff Hunt.  “I'm very blessed and fortunate to have him step in as GM.  I think he's one of the smartest guys in Junior Hockey.”

Brown was coming back to Ottawa to visit his parents for his mother’s 86th birthday when Higgins asked him to put in his resume.

Higgins discussed the passion that both he and Brown felt towards the Barberpoles growing up, adding “there was no NHL, the 67’s were our NHL.” 

No Niagara trade imminent

SB Nation’s College Hockey section started the rumours in early April that Jeff would come to Ottawa and try to convince his son, Logan, to join the team with him, keeping him out of the NCAA.

Any rumours were immediately put to rest as Jeff explicitly said his son would be a member of the Niagara IceDogs, the team that selected him sixth overall, for the 2014-15 season.

“My son is not coming here,” said Brown.  “We’re two separate people, he has to stand on his own two feet.  I’ve coached him a lot; it’s time for someone else to coach him.”

“Obviously I’ll still cheer for him.  I hope when we play him, we win 4-3 and he gets a hattrick.  We get all the games so I’ll still be watching him.”

Logan still hasn’t committed to the IceDogs.

“If Logan Brown can help us win a Memorial Cup someday down the road, and he’s the best player available, we’ll go get him,” added Higgins.  “He’s not coming here now.”

Any potential trade wouldn’t be allowed until training camps in September, but any discussion about a deal is now off the table.

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