Tuesday

Glen Hanlon

There is something about Brandon, Manitoba and goaltenders Bill Ranford, Ron Hextall, Turk Broda and Ken Wregget were all born there. Sugar Jim Henry Trevor Kidd, Rick Knickle, Dave McLelland, and Pokey Reddick all apprenticed there with the WHL Brandon Wheat Kings.

So what happens when a hometown kid plays for the Wheaties? He becomes one of the top goaltending prospects in the world when he is ready to turn professional! That's what happened anyways in the case of red head Glen Hanlon.

Hanlon was taken in the 3rd round by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1977 Entry Draft after a spectacular career in the WHL. For three seasons he was the Wheaties top netminder -twice leading the league in shutouts and once in GAA. He also participated in the 1976 Memorial Cup - but not with Brandon but rather the New Westminster Bruins. There used to be an old rule in junior hockey which would allow a league champion to pick up an extra player - usually a goalie - from another team before meeting other league champions in the Memorial Cup final. The Bruins and Hanlon fell just short that year. .

A season of apprenticing in the minor leagues with CHL Tulsa only confirmed his status as a top prospect as he was a first team all star and Rookie of the Year. He posted a league high 3 shutouts with the Tulsa Oilers.
Hanlon made it to Vancouver and the NHL to stay in 1978-79, but after three seasons he was unable to turn around the Canucks fortune. When the Canucks acquired "King" Richard Brodeur, Hanlon was reduced to backup and became expendable.

Late in the 1981-82 season Vancouver traded the still highly respected Hanlon to the St. Louis Blues for Rick Heinz, Tony Currie, Jim Nill and a draft pick. Many so called experts declared it a steal of a deal for the Blues, but the three players who went to Vancouver helped the Canucks in their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup finals just weeks later.

Hanlon's stay in St. Louis was short as he was second fiddle to Mike Liut. He was traded to NY Rangers with Vaclav Nedmonasky for Andre Dore early in 1983. He spent the next two years as the number one goalie with an average Rangers team. His best season as a pro probably came in 1983-84 when he recorded 28 wins in 50 games while playing behind an injury riddled Rangers squad.

Hanlon fell out of favor in New York during the 1985-86 and actually spent some time in the minor leagues. The Rangers had a couple of hot goaltending prospects in John Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Richter coming along in their system, so the following year they ended up trading Glen to the Red Wings. For the next 5 years served as a capable keeper who at times was a backup, yet at other times served as the number one guy. He enjoyed a fine 1987-88 season when he recorded 22 wins in 47 games and shared the NHL lead for shutouts with 4.

Hanlon retired at the end of the 1991-92 season. In 1992-93 he returned to Vancouver as a goaltending coach and scout. Before long he was named as a full time assistant coach. This was the start of a long career in coaching, which includes stops on the top of the hockey world (NHL) and the unlikely (national team coach of both Belarus and Slovakia).

Hanlon is of course remembered for one thing more than any other - he is the guy who surrendered Wayne Gretzky's first NHL goal.

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