Last Tuesday, 32-year-old forward Curtis Glencross announced his retirement. It caps off a strange summer where many veteran players who were quite serviceable as third and fourth line pieces, either couldn’t find a NHL job or wound up taking a tryout deal, with guys like Devin Setoguchi, Sean Bergenheim, Andrej Meszaros, Daniel Paille, Lubomir Visnovsky, and others all finding themselves without a NHL home.
Many players wound up heading to Europe or the KHL.
Curtis Glencross decided, after taking a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche and not getting offered a contract, to retire instead.
Glencross had an interesting career. He was an undrafted player who didn’t get a full time NHL gig until he was 25. He nonetheless managed to play 507 regular season games over his career and was an alternate captain for the Calgary Flames, the team he’s most closely associated with (even if he regrets giving them a hometown discount).
With the end of his career at hand, we look through eight great moments from Curtis Glencross’s unlikely career.
The Hat Tricks
Glencross grabbed his first career hat trick on February 3, 2010, shortly after the Flames made a couple of trades to make a run at the playoffs.
He starts it off by putting in a deflection that bounces off his upper body. The second is a snipe off the rush, and he follows that up with an empty netter to seal off the 4-1 win.
Despite grabbing three of the four Flames goals that night, he didn’t have the game-winner.
The next hat trick comes in 2013 and bears a strange resemblance to his first one.
Again, the first goal deflects off the goaltender, then off Glencross’s upper body, and into the net. His second is some great work away from the puck, shaking Nick Spaling’s coverage as he slides through the slot to put one in. He again seals the deal with an empty-netter.
The best part of this one? It’s Cowboy Hat Night at the Saddledome.
The final hat trick of his career comes in what is close to his final game with the Flames. Now an alternate captain, he puts in a prettier hat trick than the first two, even if it comes in an 8-1 rout of the Oilers.
For the first he snipes one upper corner on Viktor Fasth, then follows that up with a pretty goal where he takes a rough pass and kicks it back to his stick while cycling through the slot, managing to sneak one past Ben Scrivens.
His third of the night didn’t come on a third goaltender, but brings the Battle of Alberta to an embarrassing crescendo.
A Dubious Honor
Maybe not Glencross’s personal favorite moment, but he has the dubious honor of have two goals called off by officials in under a minute. It happened during a match against the Minnesota Wild in 2009.
Glencross, who didn’t take a traditional path through junior hockey, spent his junior career in the Alberta Junior Hockey League playing for the Brooks Bandits, who retired his number back in 2011.
After his time in the AJHL he went and spent two seasons playing for the University of Alaska-Anchorage in the NCAA, where he put up 34 points (21-13—34) in 31 games his final season.
The Kind of Player Glencross Was
It doesn’t carry the same weight as some of the other more milestone events in Glencross’ career, but the goal he scored against the Florida Panthers last season with just five seconds left in the game and the Flames down one, is emblematic of what he brought to the team throughout his career. He was a tenacious player.
That tenacity wasn’t just evidenced in very solid secondary scoring and working his way into the league as an undrafted forward late in his career, but for a guy who weighed in under 200 pounds, he was willing to go to the mat and played a style that got under the skin of star players enough that they’d go with him.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.