By Bill Vilona
Pensacola News Journal
PENSACOLA, Fla. – His decorated hockey career embodied some of the principles Tim Kerr now applies in business.
Challenges motivated. Injuries tested resolve. Adversity fueled determination.
It’s no wonder why he can relate so well with people in Pensacola.
“You go to games, sit up in the stands and talk to people who say, ‘Yeah, I lost my house in (Hurricane Ivan), but we’re putting it back together.’ It’s just amazing,” said the 45-year-old Kerr.
“The integrity of people to bring their lives back to normal after such a devastating thing is just so rewarding to hear.”
The rewards have been mutual.
As sole owner of the Pensacola Ice Pilots, Kerr has revived a moribund franchise, turning a team on the edge of disbanding into regular-season champions of the ECHL. For his efforts, Kerr was a unanimous choice for selection as Pensacola Sports Association sportsman of the year.
“His name came out, and I don’t think we even discussed another guy,” said Ray Palmer, executive director of the PSA, who chaired a committee to choose the award winners who will be honored Monday. “His selection was as easy of one as we’ve ever had.”
Demands from Kerr’s successful real estate business, which spans the New Jersey coastline, will keep him from attending Monday’s PSA banquet. It doesn’t diminish his appreciation.
“It’s a great feeling to know your hard work is being noticed,” said Kerr, a member of the Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame who bought the Ice Pilots before the 2003-04 season. “It’s very gratifying.
“Like any business, you need to deliver on what you promised. I promised Pensacola I was going to do the best I could to turn this thing around and keep hockey in Pensacola.
“That challenge is still going. I love Pensacola. My kids love it there.”
The Ice Pilots, who played their final regular-season game Saturday night, won the Brabham Cup for the best record in the ECHL. They will begin the Kelly Cup playoffs Thursday night against the Greenville (S.C.) Grrrowl at the Pensacola Civic Center.