Attended KCSS • 1970–1973
Born in Newmarket, Mike called Schomberg home while growing up and attending elementary school. Although only at King City S.S. for three brief years, Mike was very involved in school life, being especially active in sports. He competed in volleyball, track and field and rugby and it was in the latter sport where he helped his team to the All Ontario 7-a-side championship. Mike’s minor hockey was played in Schomberg and but by the age of 15 he was playing for the Aurora Tigers Junior B team where he was a teammate of fellow KCSS student, Rick Hampton. In 1974 Mike was drafted by the Toronto Marlboros in the 1st round, played 3 years for the team and was fortunate enough to capture the Memorial Cup in the 1974-1975 season. As his hockey card states, “During stint with Marlies he developed into one of the top defensemen in junior ranks and was voted to OHA First All Star Team for the 1974-75 campaign”.
By 1976 “Kitch” was drafted by the both NHL Kansas City Scouts (3rd round) and the WHA Toronto Toros (7th round). Since he had always held the dream of playing in the NHL Mike cast his lot with Kansas City and he attended training camp in Colorado, the team’s new home following the franchise shift to that state. They were now known as the Colorado Rockies. The dream continued for Mike when he played against the Montreal Canadiens in his very first NHL game for the Rockies, and he played for them for the six years of their existence until once again they pulled up stakes and moved to the American north-east and became the present-day New Jersey Devils. Mike played 2 more seasons with the franchise before retiring during the 1984-85 season.
During the three years between the end of his playing years and the start of his coaching career Mike worked in the construction industry and sold printing materials in Toronto. Opportunity came knocking once again in 1988 when he was offered an opportunity to work with the Newmarket Saints, the minor league team affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The following year saw Mike become an assistant coach with the Leafs, a post he held for 9½ years. In 1998 he was hired by the St. Louis Blues to be an assistant coach. Following the dismissal of the team’s head coach in February, 2004, Mike Kitchen reached the pinnacle of his career to date when he was named the Blues’ head coach.
To the students of King City S.S. today Mike Kitchen has the following piece of advice: “Have a passion for the things that you do”.