|Mike Comrie, above, says his father, Bill, played a big part in turning him into the hockey player and person that he is today.|
by Todd Anderson
Bill Comrie, father of Ottawa Senators centre Mike Comrie, was in the crowd last night watching his son contribute to the Senators' 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place. Today, the founder of what is now The Brick Warehouse, will be awarded the prestigious Order of Canada from Gov. Gen. MichaÃ«lle Jean during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
The Order of Canada "recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation."
"Obviously, this is a tremendous honour, and the family is very proud of him," Mike says. "Not only has he given lots back, he's also been a great father."
Bill coached Mike during his minor hockey days all the way up to age 14. He taught his son a lot about hockey, and life in general, along the way.
"You have to earn what you get," Mike answers when asked what was the most important message passed down from his father. "He always told us that hard work is the biggest thing in life."
Along with founding The Brick, Bill is a former owner of the Canadian Football League's B.C. Lions and International Hockey League's San Diego Gulls, and was also a board member of the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos. Renowned for his commitment to charity, he chaired a campaign that raised more than $30 million for Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, which is set to open this year.
At age 16, Bill was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks but he never played in the NHL. At 19, he decided to pursue a career in the furniture business, but later in life restored his passion for hockey by coaching his sons.
Mike says his father's work ethic was also evident in his coaching.
"He would drive from rink to rink because he coached my brother (Paul, who played 15 games in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers in 1999-2000), too. The reason he's been successful is because of his ability to manage. (When coaching) he was a teacher. Growing up he was always teaching us how to do things better. He still coaches me when he comes to games. He's very intelligent and he sees things differently than other people."
Bill and his wife, Roxanne, live in California. Along with Mike and Paul, he has two other sons - Ty and Eric - and a daughter named Cathy.