The Ottawa 67’s entered the Ontario Hockey League (then the OHA) for the 1967-68 season. The team has produced many great players in the nearly five decades since, largely due to the leadership of Brian Kilrea.
In the history of the Ottawa 67’s, there have been five players honoured as the Player of the Year in the Canadian Hockey League. Considering there are now 60 teams in the CHL and one team has provided the most outstanding player five times in nearly 50 years, it says a lot about the organization.
Peter Lee was the first Ottawa 67’s player to be honoured as Canada’s top major junior hockey player. In 1975-76, Lee scored 81 goals and added 80 assists for 161 points in 66 games for Ottawa. He led the league in goals but fell nine points short of Mike Kaszycki of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Peter was also awarded the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s MVP and the Jim Mahon Trophy as the top scoring right winger.
1975-76 was Peter Lee’s final season of five with the Ottawa 67’s, having starting his junior career in 1971-72. The Montreal Canadiens selected him in the first round of the 1976 NHL Amateur Draft, 12th overall. However, his NHL career was all played with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1977-78 to 1982-83. He later starred in Germany from 1983-84 to 1996-97 and is currently the general manager for Eisbaren Berlin in Germany’s elite league, the DEL. Lee has held that post since 2004-05.
Just two years after Peter Lee, Bobby Smith became the CHL’s Player of the Year. Smith had a legendary season in 1977-78. In 61 games, he scored 69 goals and assisted on 123 others for 192 points. The assists and points totals remain OHL single season records. He was also awarded the Red Tilson Trophy, as well as, the Eddie Powers Trophy as the league’s leading scorer, edging out Wayne Gretzky by ten points.
Bobby Smith played for the Ottawa 67’s for three seasons from 1975-76 to 1977-78. He was the first overall pick at the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft, going to the Minnesota North Stars. Smith played in the NHL from 1978-79 to 1992-93 with both the North Stars and the Montreal Canadiens.
While Peter Lee was playing his final season in Germany, Alyn McCauley was busy becoming the third Ottawa 67’s player in history to win the CHL Player of the Year. In 1996-97, McCauley scored 56 goals and added 56 assists for 112 points in just 50 games. Alyn played for Ottawa from 1993-94 until 1996-97 and won both the Red Tilson Trophy and World Junior Hockey Championship gold in his final two seasons.
McCauley was taken in the fourth round, 79th overall, by the New Jersey Devils in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Alyn never played for the Devils, but did play in the NHL from 1997-98 to 2006-07 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings.
Two years after Alyn McCauley, Brian Campbell became the only Ottawa defenseman to become the CHL Player of the Year. In 62 games during the 1998-99 season, Campbell had 75 assists and 87 points to lead all OHL defenseman in those two categories. Campbell was also awarded the Red Tilson Trophy and the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. To top it off, Ottawa took home the Memorial Cup as CHL champions.
After four years with the 67’s, starting in 1995-96, Campbell began his NHL career sporadically with the Buffalo Sabres in 1999-00. The Sabres had taken Brian way down in the sixth round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, 156th overall. Currently still in the NHL, under contract to play his fifth year with the Florida Panthers in 2015-16, Campbell has played for the Sabres, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks. He was part of the 2010 Stanley Cup winning team in Chicago.
Corey Locke was the last Ottawa 67’s player to be named CHL Player of the Year. In 2002-03, his second of three seasons in the OHL, Locke exploded with 63 goals and 88 assists for 151 points in 66 games. In both 2002-03 and 2003-04, Corey won both the Red Tilson Trophy and the Eddie Powers Trophy.
Locke was taken by the Montreal Canadiens in the fourth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, 113th overall. To date, he has played in just nine NHL games, split between Montreal, the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators. He played 2014-15 with the Nurnberg Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers in Germany’s DEL.