He’s a former Ontario Hockey League star defenseman who went on to captain a Team Canada, world junior, gold-medal champion. And now as the general manager of a national champion junior A team, Brent Tully has aspirations of returning to the OHL.
As a player, Tully lived the championship dream as a standout with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes and the Team Canada juniors before a lengthy professional career at the American Hockey League and European levels.
Now 43-years old, Tully is fresh from a Royal Bank Cup national championship as the general manager of the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
A Peterborough native, Tully has spent the past six seasons with the Cobourg juniors — two-and-a-half as assistant GM and the past three-and-a-half as GM, juggling duties with the Cougars and his practice as a financial planner.
And while there are only 20 GM positions in the OHL, Tully hopes to eventually get back into the league that he once excelled in as a player.
“It’s a goal of mine,” Tully told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “I would definitely like the opportunity to be a GM in the OHL. It is a job I believe I am ready for and I would give up my financial practice for the opportunity to be a GM in the OHL.”
Facts are though that every GM position in the OHL is currently filled, many of them by long-time, respectable managers such as George Burnett of the Guelph Storm, Stan Butler of the North Bay Battalion, Dale Degray of the Owen Sound Attack, James Boyd of the Ottawa 67’s and Warren Rychel of the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.
Then are less-experienced men who are nonetheless well-entrenched and respected in their current GM roles — the likes of Doug Gilmour of the Kingston Frontenacs, Jason Ford of the Barrie Colts, Michael Oke of the Peterborough Petes, Roger Hunt of the Oshawa Generals, Nick Sinclair of the Sarnia Sting, Kyle Raftis of the Soo Greyhounds, Dave Brown of the Erie Otters, Barclay Branch of the Flint Firebirds, Dave Drinkill of the Saginaw Spirit, Steve Staois of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Rob Simpson of the London Knights, Mike McKenzie of the Kitchener Rangers and Rob Papineau of the Sudbury Wolves.
(The other two OHL GMs are the eye-rolling pair of Joey Burke of the Niagara Ice Dogs and James Richmond of the Mississauga Steelheads. Burke’s mom and dad own the Ice Dogs while Richmond was recently given the added role of GM in Mississauga despite having only a single season of OHL experience as a head coach.)
At any rate, Tully will meanwhile have to bide his time in Cobourg and wait for an opening at the OHL level, whenever and wherever that may be.
Another option, besides carrying on as the GM in Cobourg, would be to seek out an assistant GM position with an OHL team as a basis for training. To be sure, it’s a route that the aforementioned likes of Boyd, Ford, Brown, Branch, Hunt, Drinkill, Simpson and McKenzie took on their way to being GM.
PHOTO: Brent Tully aspires to move up the management ladder into the Ontario Hockey League.