Curtis Glencross begins rookie year in AHL with high expectations

By Kevin Forbes

Two years ago, Curtis Glencross was playing in relative
anonymity
with the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. After going
undrafted,
Glencross was top on his team in goals and second in points, but it was team that had only won one game in NCAA competition during 2002-03.
Despite his best efforts, the outlook didn’t look too bright for the Red
Deer,
Alberta native.

Then the 2003-04 season began. There must have been some magic in the
George
M. Sullivan Arena, because the Seawolves suddenly played like a team
possessed. Glencross spearheaded their attack, leading the team in
scoring
as well posting career highs in almost every offensive category
imaginable.
He scored the most goals and points by a UAA player since the 1995-96
season. The momentum kept going deep into the WCHA playoffs, where the
eighth-seeded Seawolves defeated first the third-seeded Wisconsin
Badgers and
then the seventh-seeded Colorado College Tigers. The Seawolves
eventually
fell to the top-ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux at the WCHA Final
Five in
March 2004, but not before being referred to as the feel-good story of
2003-04 NCAA hockey.

By the time the season was over, the Anchorage-Alaska team had
attracted a
lot of attention. Glencross was told in January that Anaheim’s
Assistant
General Manager David McNabb had his eye on him. Glencross described it
to
Hockey’s Future at this year’s Rookie Tournament, “He said keep going because we are
interested in you and know we are here.”

When the season ended, a
number of
NHL teams had taken interest in the forward and he decided to make the
jump
to pro hockey.

“I felt that I was ready to jump in even though I only
had
two years of college. I had a great experience in college and it is
nice to
get a chance at the next level,” Glencross said.

After signing a three-year deal with Anaheim, he reported to Cincinnati
to join the farm club just before the end of the season. Although he only had 2 goals
and 3 points in 7 regular season games with the Mighty Ducks, he proved
to have some magic left for Cincinnati’s AHL playoff run, tallying 7
points in
9 games. The best was still yet to come.

At the 2004 Rookie Tournament, Glencross showed Ducks fans what all the
fuss was about. He scored 6 goals and 8 points to lead the tournament in scoring
and to lead the Ducks to victory. He was placed on a line with
Anaheim’s
2003 first-round draft picks, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey
Perry
and
credited his linemates for much of his success, saying “they do a good
job of moving the puck around and as long as I can get open, they will find
me.”

Getzlaf and Perry were impressed by Glencross as well. Top prospect
Getzlaf
called Glencross “a very skilled hockey player” and Perry said “we just worked really hard and things just happened for us.”

Glencross describes himself as a grinder. “I go to the net and whatever happens, happens.”

That description
may be a bit modest. At 6’1 and 190 pounds, he is slender but provides
a mix of skill and grit that Anaheim desperately needs in their NHL
lineup. He
had a reputation in the WCHA as a punishing checker and has shown no
signs
of letting up during his professional career. A quick player, he sees
the
ice well and never quits. This all points to a future spot for
Glencross on
a second or third line in the NHL.

There’s plenty of work left to do, however and Glencross realizes that.

“I
need to work on my defensive game. I need to be a little more aware
when I
don’t have the puck on my hands,” he told Hockey’s Future regarding his
focus
was for the 2004-05 season. “Other than that, I am just going to work
hard
down low in the offensive zone, get some more size and try to make the
next
step.”

Glencross, 21, has returned to Cincinnati for his first full season in
the
AHL. He’s part of the Mighty Ducks’ top six forwards and will be
counted on
to provide offense and leadership on a young team. He’s an example of
dedication and hard work paying off, both on and off the ice.

Jeff Dahlia contributed to this article. Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future.

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