Friday

Brian Glennie

Phil Esposito. Bobby Clarke. Paul Henderson. Ken Dryden. Brian Glennie. What do these guys have in common? They were all part of the 1972 Team Canada team that took on the Soviet Union in the greatest hockey tournament ever.

Brian Glennie? No, that's not a mistake. He was a spare defenseman who never actually played in the series, but none-the-less was part of Team Canada. Despite not playing, being part of the team was unquestionably the highlite of his career.

“It still brings tears to your eyes to think about it. That’s something I’ll never forget.” said Glennie “My strongest memory is from when Paul was doing his usual job of backchecking and scored the winning goal. After the game, I don’t think I’ve heard ‘O Canada’ sung with such feeling in my life."

Glennie, an unheralded defensive blueliner in his 10 year NHL career, was asked to join Team Canada after Boston rearguard Dallas Smith had to turn down his invitation.

“At every hockey banquet I go too, I thank Dallas Smith for saying no,” Glennie jokes “It made me a better hockey player and turned out to be one of the greatest moments of my life.”

Glennie, who had a reputation as a hard hitting bodychecker and fierce defensive force, was asked to join the team partially because of his experience against the Russians. Unlike most of the NHLers on Team Canada, Glennie had twice played against the Russians. Once while in junior with the Toronto Marlies, and once during the 1968 Olympics.

Glennie played his junior hockey with his hometown Toronto Marlboros where he helped lead the team to the Memorial Cup in 1966-67 and played one more year of junior before breaking into the NHL. The low-scoring defenseman began his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1969-70. after the Olympics and a year of seasoning in the minor leagues. He played nine seasons with the Leafs before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on June 14, 1978. Glennie played in 18 games for the Kings in 1978-79 before retiring from the NHL. Over his career, the rugged defenseman scored 14 goals with 100 assists for 114 points with 621 penalty minutes in 572 regular season games.

But it was that memorable September in 1972 that ranks highest on Glennie's highlight list.

After his hockey days were over, Glennie was involved in several businesses until 1990 when a severe heart attack forced him into retirement. He continues to make public appearances at banquets.

4 comments:

Anonymous,  4:32 PM  

A truly underrated player for the Leafs, but an even better man. Have had the opportunity to meet him a few times, even recently, and a really funny, inviting and gracious guy.

Anonymous,  6:01 PM  

one of my favorite players ever,because he played with such heart,guts,and determination;always stood up for his team mates ,played hard but clean. over the years their were complete leaf teams that had less combined heart than brian glennie had. gave the game his all, and was very grateful for what the game gave him, too bad the leafs wouldnt give him some regonition

xwheelerx 8:13 PM  

My favorite defence man

Don't breed,  12:36 PM  

The greatest stand up open ice body checker of all time.

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