Family and fun helps Kilcoyne skate through life
Bill Kilcoyne of Palatine, who recently retired as Glencoe Public Works supervisor after 33 years, is a hockey summer camp coach at the Northbrook Park District Sports Center. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Who: Bill Kilcoyne
Known for: Hockey coach to many throughout the North Shore, recently retired Village of Glencoe Public Works employee
Family: Wife Trish; sons Matthew, 36; Brian, 35; Patrick, 24; Liam, 17;and Cullen, 16
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:37AM
NORTHBROOK — In his green Notre Dame golf shirt, Bill Kilcoyne, former Glencoe Public Works supervisor of 33 years, looked down at two lucky coins pulled from his pocket while chatting at the Northbrook Park District Sports Center ice rink.
“Yah, I’m a Notre Dame fan,” said Kilcoyne, smiling, thanking his lucky stars for Irish good fortune.
Nearby, skaters, all girls, giggled while waiting for ice practice time.
“Being that my last name is Kilcoyne,” continued the hockey league coach, “being Irish…the Fighting Irish (team) is always dear to my heart.”
Those heirloom roots mean so much so to Kilcoyne, the father of five sons, that he celebrated a milestone moment, his May 31 Village of Glencoe retirement, with none other than his second cousin Joe plus 35 close friends and loved ones.
“Kilcoyne’s Redwood Inn,” he said proudly, of Joe’s place in Wheeling on Milwaukee Avenue, just north of Dundee Road, where Kilcoyne raised a toast with pals on the night of his retirement.
“I enjoyed my 33 years, loved working with the residents,” Kilcoyne, of Palatine, said.
“The guys I worked with were great, I treated all of them like family.”
Kilcoyne helped Glencoe residents evaluate home repair quotes as any good neighbor might offer an over-the-fence hand.
“You know,” said Kilcoyne, “it’s their tax dollars paying my salary.
“I wanted to give them as much advice as I can.”
Of the lucky coins he carries daily, obtained when his wife Trish of 25 years was hospitalized six years ago: “One says believe, the other says faith,” noted Kilcoyne.
“You gotta believe in what you’re doing…you gotta have a little faith and that will carry you through life.
“They’re (lucky charms) in my pocket all of the time.”
Keeping the faith has kept Kilcoyne steady on ice.
Raised in Deerfield, Kilcoyne, a 1975 Deerfield High School graduate, honed his confidence as a youth goalie.
After playing hockey for the University of Wisconsin — Stevens Point, “I threw out my knee and decided to leave school,” said Kilcoyne, of that preseason conditioning injury.
“I got to play two games in my college career,” said Kilcoyne, showing no regret, noting how proud he was to pay for college by working newspaper routes.
Today, Kilcoyne coaches adults and youth at several area ice rinks.
He worked for the Glencoe Park District as a part-time hockey director from 1999-2010.
“I love the game, not many people get to do their dream job.”
One day, Kilcoyne will split ice time with a Northbrook Park District Sports Center summer hockey camp, then may find himself later literally down the road at the North Shore Ice Arena near Willow Festival in Northbrook off Founders Drive.
“I run them (adults, youth) through the same skills and then end every session with a game to make it fun. Kilcoyne’s five children all appreciate sportsmanship.
His sons are Matthew, 36; Brian, 35; Patrick, 24; Liam, 17, a senior; and Cullen, 16, a sophomore, both younger brothers at Palatine High School.
His youngest two enjoy hockey, cross country or track, while the oldest three have equally made their dad “very proud.”
Matthew was a Marine, Brian served as a U.S. Air Force airman and Patrick is currently with the U.S. Army National Guard.
“My wife (Trish) and kids are a huge part of my life,” said Kilcoyne.
“I’d do anything for them, you know…I can’t do enough for them.”
While at the Village of Glencoe, Kilcoyne researched costly equipment purchases, which included a $296,000 Vactor sewer cleaner dual-action truck which vacuums catch basins while rodding lines.
Outside of work, Kilcoyne built a league resume via the Deerfield Falcons (now Deerfield/Highland Park Falcons) and Glenview Stars.
He also coached the Northwest Chargers, Winnetka Warriors and the junior varsity hockey teams at Deerfield, Glenbrook South, Loyola and Highland Park high schools.
Kilcoyne started the Falcon Hockey Association in Deerfield in 1967.
“Back then, it cost us $3 to try out,” laughed Kilcoyne, “and it cost us $50 for the whole season.
“And now,” he said, “the cost is, like, $3,500 just to play…
“It’s insurance, it’s ice time, ice time is huge, it’s coaching fees, it’s league fees.”
It could be said Kilcoyne is having the ice time of his life.
“You plow it in Public Works and you skate on it at the arena,” said Kilcoyne with a knowing chuckle.
“I love the cold, I love the cold...
“People say, ‘Where are you moving to when you retire?’
“But I’m staying here (in Chicagoland),” said Kilcoyne.
“It’s just that I don’t have to get up at three o’clock in the morning to plow snow.”