Time and a hard playing style are no player’s friend. And a combination of the two have contributed to the retirement of a long-time Calgary Flames player, Curtis Glencross.
Curtis Glencross confirms he is retiring.
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) October 20, 2015
Curtis Glencross was never supposed to be a professional hockey player, at least based upon his background and status as a late-bloomer.
He had a strong stint with the AJHL’s Brooks bandits but was never really considered an NHL Draft candidate, so he went the way many players go when their NHL dreams are fading – to college. He suited up for a couple of seasons with the University of Alaska – Anchorage, where his rugged game drew the attention of several pro teams. He ended up leaving school and signing with the Anaheim Ducks organization.
Glencross’ first few seasons in minor-pro weren’t anything to write home about, but he eventually worked himself into a spot as one of the Ducks’ “tweener” bodies. He was traded during the 2006-07 season to Columbus, and from then-on he basically left the AHL behind. In 2007-08 he was traded in-season – again – this time much closer to home as he went to the Edmonton Oilers. He was a half-a-point per game player in Edmonton over half a season, but the Oilers opted not to keep him and he went to free agency and ended up a couple hours down the road in Calgary. (Flames fans frequently brought this up during subsequent Battles of Alberta, particularly in games where Glencross performed strongly against his old team.)
Glencross ended up being defined by his time in Calgary, and his time in Calgary helped define the franchise – for better and slightly for worse – as he served for several seasons as an alternate captain. He played six and a half seasons in Calgary, accumulating 418 regular season games and 242 points, but played just six post-season contests during his tenure. He was known for his hard-nosed, physical style of play. It’s what made him really effective during the first few years of his tenure and allowed him to excel at puck retrieval and gaining goals during goal-mouth scrums. He was willing to go to the hard areas of the ice, and it cost him. And eventually it caught up to him through injuries. He gradually lost his foot-speed as he entered into his 30s, and in-turn he lost his willingness to go into the tough areas of the ice – it’s tough to do that when your body has been ground down over the years by playing that style. (A similar thing happened to Robyn Regehr, though a lot of that was due to knee injuries taking away his mobility.)
Glencross was traded to Washington at the trade deadline last season for a second round pick and a third round pick in last summer’s NHL Draft. The picks he was used to acquire were used, in-part, to (a) trade for Dougie Hamilton and (b) trade-up to pick Oliver Kylington. He was unable to find full-time NHL employment this summer, and spent time briefly with Toronto and Colorado on professional try-outs in September and October.
Best of luck to Curtis Glencross in retirement.