Lance: My next guest goaltender Glenn Healey is a Canadian-born hockey player who played his college hockey at Western Michigan University. And then went on to play 137 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs over a 15-year career. During the 93/94 season, he won a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers.
Lance: Erasing a 54-year drought for the blue shirts once he retired, Mr. Healy spent some time in the broadcasting sector working for the CBC TSN and Rogers and is currently the President and Executive Director of the NHL alumni association.
Lance: Glenn, welcome to the hockey journey podcast.
Glenn: Wow. That's a great introduction. So the show's over. Thanks, everybody. Thanks for tuning in. You're very kind, but that would be my resume right there. And I'm just happy to be part of the show and part of all the good things you are doing on the podcast.
Glenn: Fantastic. Glad to be part of it.
Lance: Thanks. This is a great platform to tell stories as I get in front of many young, aspiring hockey players, both boys, and girls, that want to achieve some pretty high goals playing college hockey, the Olympics, or ultimately the NHL.
Lance: So to be able to hear some stories. Maybe pick something that worked for others or something else that you might be able to add to your process if something tough happens. And it gives you the ability to maybe navigate through that a little easier.
Glenn: Have we played against each other? I don't know if you've scored against me, but you certainly, if you played against me, joined the pile when your hands were raised, whoever scored against me. But you know what, that's the great thing about our sport. We have so many great ambassadors that play the game, leave the game, and carry on some of the traditions you're carrying on.
Glenn: And every player has a story. And that's what I love about many players now who are doing podcasts telling those stories. I worked in television for many years with hockey night in Canada, and because you've got to get the puck drop and because intermissions are so quick, we never get to tell those stories, and some of them can be inspiring and maybe can help the next wave of players.
Glenn: That want to do what we did, which is the best job you'll ever have in your life to play in the national hockey league. But even if you don't achieve that, my gosh, to go to college, get an education, and create friendships and life lessons that will last a lifetime, the sport has gifted us with a lot of perfect gifts.
Glenn: And in fact, you didn't score on me. Maybe that was my gift to you. But we can sit in a room and have a cold libation and not have met or not have chatted. It's still a special thing to be an NHL player. A quick story. We were down in New York, and the Islanders invited every alumnus who had ever played for the Islanders back.
Glenn: And Tie Domi showed up, and he wasn't an Islander, but he showed up at the game, and he was in my box, and so many players just wanted to meet Ty. And one of the MC Lakota had said, I had never talked to him before. He's only beaten me up, but I've never had a chance to speak with him. So I loved how that was their first introduction.
Glenn: I took a snapshot of the two of them the first time they spoke without a dance. And I thought that was pretty cool, but our sport certainly is a special one with special people.
Lance: If I had scored on you, Glenn, your career would have been shorter.
Glenn: We would've made sure that I'm sure.
Lance: We're going to talk about him later. So I'd like to start the conversation with you by taking us back to the beginning. Tell us how your family ended up in Pickering, Ontario, and your child's earliest memories.
Glenn: So my dad fought in world war II for the Scottish, and when the war ended, there were no jobs in Scotland and no money. Clearly, he'd fought five years for the British.
Glenn: And you could get two pounds to immigrate to Canada. They thought, wow, Canada, no job, but I got two pounds. So let's go. And so that was the start of kind of the healing journey in Canada. When I was a youngster, we belonged to a church, and they had a church league for hockey players, and all of my friends played.
Glenn: So my dad thought it would be natural that I go learn some life lessons and play the sport that Canada had given us. Certainly wasn't much hockey in Scotland, but that's how it started for me, five years old. I don't remember much when I was fighting. I do remember crying on my way into kindergarten on the first day.
Glenn: I remember that. And remember the first time I skated, which was on a pair of Gordy house states and put the skates on, and remember that first year it was the buzzer system. So you would play for two minutes, and then the buzzer would go off, and you'd leave the ice until the two minutes is up, and then you'd make your way back on that first year.
Glenn: I never touched the pock one time in the entire season. And my dad, who's the team coach, said, let's make them a goalie. That way, the puck will come to him. He doesn't have to go chase it around the ice. And that was my earliest memory of starting. And just that chance to play a game. That, again, my parents foreign to people that grew up eating haggis, wearing kilts, and playing bagpipes.
Lance: So when did you get introduced to a. To goalie cause most kids, they, would, they dream a score on the goals. When did stopping them become your thing?
Glenn: Again, it was my first year not touching the puck wants, and my dad saying, Hey, put them in the pocket, come to him. And my brother at the time who's was older than me.
Glenn: He had all the equipment. So it was just natural that you could just transfer the equipment over from him to me. And now, granted, it was way too big. And for the most part, I stood for the National Anthem and then fell, and that was it. I couldn't get back up, but that was the position I enjoyed.
Glenn: I started with almost after my, basically my first year, and many of the kids today will play goal cause they loved the masks. They looked cool; the paint job wasn't the case for me. I got put in goal because the equipment was there, and I sucked at playing forward.
Glenn: So time to be a goalie; he can't skate. Put him in.
Lance: In Minnesota, we have community-based hockey during the winter seasons where players grow up playing basically with the same group through high school. What was your developmental path climb on the hockey ladder?
Glenn: As time went on that first couple of years, I played on a Catholic team that had the age group from five to nine.
Glenn: So you can imagine the nine-year-olds are pretty darn. The five-year-olds were pretty lousy. And so the competition level, believe it or not, is the team in a town like Pickering that is known for its eight nuclear reactors and not much more. We had three guys that made the NHL, Billy Carroll played with the Islanders, Derek Rueter played with the Buffalo sabers, and myself.
Glenn: And wow. What beginnings for that team. But as time went on, you tend to find every finds its level. And I moved on to an all-star team. And then, there was an opportunity for me to look ahead and think I could get a college scholarship. And I know a lot of kids in Minnesota; I live with a couple from Hibbing up in the iron range in Northern Minnesota.
Glenn: And it was a chance to go to school and get an education. And my dad was always under the opinion. If you learn, you earn, and you'll have a job that will be fruitful and purposeful. If you go to school and do what you like to do and in that vocation. And so that was my journey. Go to school, get an education, and never dream of playing in the NHL.
Glenn: I was so far-fetched because I wasn't good enough. And so getting that education, I think, helped me make the NHL because there wasn't this pressure that you got to make it. You're 14 years old, and you're playing junior in Canada. And if you don't make its boomer bust, there was no bust again with a couple of degrees in my back pocket; I would have been able to go out and enjoy whatever craft that I decided to do on the other side without skates on.
Glenn: And so it led me to a great education, great friendships, and eventually a long career in the NHL.
Lance: I'm curious because you're in Canada. Did you have pressures to play major junior up there because I know we're close in the same age, and major junior wasn't even talked about down here in the states, but up in Canada, it wasn't that like, where do you want him to go?
Lance: And for you to take the college route made you kind
Glenn: of an oddball? You're right. And that's all that was talked about in Canada. The quickest route to the NHL is through Major Junior. And there was pressure on me to play for the Peterborough Petes, one of the better teams in Major Junior, in my first year of eligibility and win the Memorial Cup.
Glenn: So they were an excellent team, but I was never drafted in the NHL and never drafted into a Major Junior. So the reality of being a non-drafted player at the junior level and. Probably was slim being a non-drafted player and making it to the NHL slimmer. It just worked out whether I was a late bloomer or given a chance, or whether that power, the moment fate took over.
Glenn: And that chance turned into a real opportunity for me. But there wasn't this real push or pressure as being a top prospect or a top pick to pick one or the other because if I had picked major junior and even stepped on the ice with that team, I would have lost all eligibility to be a college player.
Glenn: And so many players are faced with a tough decision at the age of 15 or 16. And that's a tough age to be deciding for the rest of your life. Because if you pick a college and it works out, and you get your degree, you pretty much have set a standard where I can do something the rest of my life and enjoy it.
Glenn: If you picked junior and your bus and don't make it, you don't have much to fall back on. So for me, it just happened that I wasn't in the right place at the right time to get drafted, to have all that pressure on me. And college was the route that I chose to go very early in my development.
Glenn: At 15, I was on my way to college, even though, at the time, in my back pocket, I didn't have a single college offer, but I just thought this would be a good way to become the first and only ever educated Healy in our family. That seemed to work out pretty well for me, but there wasn't the pressure to jump into one league or the other. Wow.
Glenn: It was more what would be best for your journey in life. And I think I've made the right choice.
Lance: That's amazing that you had that foresight early in today's game; it's nice that there are so many opportunities for players as they keep climbing the ladder. But I think that way more players need to have that extra time to develop.
Lance: And if you go up in major junior in Canada, up in Canada, I think what the oldest you can play there is 21 on for if you play juniors, like in the USHL or something like that, you can play there until you're like 20 and then go in as a 20-year-old in college. You got a chance to have three more years of development and experience.
Lance: You mean. Pretty clear cut that. That's where you were going to go. How was your time there? As far as your teams and playing, we knew that you were smart and had that going for you, and it was a significant part of your day, but you also were developing as a hockey player? And you ended up with two degrees.
Lance: When did you think you could make it to the next level?
Glenn: I haven't even realized that I did make it next level. I wake up and go, ah, we were in New York on the weekend. I thought it was hard to believe we played here, and it was hard to believe we won a cup here.
Glenn: Like you forget just how great that journey was as NHL players. When it came to college, a couple of things stood out. I had lots of opportunities to go to many schools. I probably had 30 colleges that were speaking. Attending their place of worship, the hockey arena, so to speak.
Glenn: Western Michigan said to me, their coach, you'll play every game for four years. Oh, this is an easy one. I'm going to go here, right? There's a, again, an opportunity to play all the games. And other schools gave me an opportunity, but they had all American goaltenders like Ron Scott, who at the time was playing for Michigan State.
Glenn: I didn't want to go there and watch him play but rather have played even if I was to play and lose. So Western became a Michigan and became a real opportunity for me to play and get an excellent education. And the two degrees came about as a result of failure because my first year of schooling was easy first semester, particularly, and found it to be a bit a brief.
Glenn: And then the second semester, I lost my way and found it a bit of a bust because I had to stay back and do summer classes, which led to my getting my first degree in marketing early. But there was nowhere for me to play in the NHL. No one was offering. So I continued and stayed on for my fourth year at university, at Western Michigan, and then locked and loaded a finance degree.
Glenn: Not having that opportunity led to more of a chance to get a more complete education package. And then, after my last year, it was the LA Kings who came knocking. They recruited the CCHA very heavily because they had Gary Galley and Dave Ballot, who both played with Bowling Green.
Glenn: They were part of the LA Kings roster. And or the NHL roster, so to speak, Dave went to Winnipeg, but for the most part, they were watching these, the teams play. And was given an opportunity, and it fell into place. When you look at colleges today, you look at the arenas, the fan base, the way they travel, the way they train, and the way the players are treated.
Glenn: It is as good as most NHL teams. And that is just the harsh reality. Some of the clubs, the arenas, North Dakota, Wisconsin, you go down the entire list. It's not the days of playing in Ohio State, a dumpy old barn. And you thought you were playing back in the prairies of Canada in some of those days?
Glenn: Not at all. Now. It is its major league sport and major league recruitment. And you're right about the age in the sense that it gives NHL teams because of their economics and the way the cap works. A couple more years of getting to watch a player and letting them develop into becoming a. And not have to decide on a player when he's 17 or 16 years old, and he's not even finished growing yet.
Glenn: So it does still get that benefit. And for that reason, there are more and more college players are drafted, mature, stay in college, and end up then leaving college at some point, either at the end of their senior year or before, but at a much later age more mature.
Lance: Yeah. So like I said, there's good.
Lance: It's great that players have more opportunities to play today than there were back when you and I were that age. So you talked about, I want a little more clarity on this. You were never drafted, but you mentioned that, but how did you end up in LA? You talked about Gary Galley, where you are playing against them as Bowling Green.
Lance: At some point or,
Glenn: Yeah, it was a CCHA final, and Bowling Green was the number one team in the country. We weren't, and we had a game at Joe Louis arena, and it happened to be a heavily scouted game because Bowling Green was the number one team in the country. Roby Dashawn, at the time was the general manager of the LA Kings.
Glenn: Pat Quinn was the coach. And I had probably one of the best games I've ever had as a player. Many saves north of 71 shot, got outplayed, got a chance. And we won the game, and that would have put an end to Bowling Green season, the number one seed. But the CCHA decided that wasn't fair.
Glenn: They were better. We're taking them anyways, Western Michigan. Go have a seat and enjoy your summer. And Rogie Vachon was in the stands and said, sign that. I don't know who he is, but he played pretty well today. And that opened the door for me to get an opportunity. I still can't tell you why I had that game.
Glenn: I haven't had one since I'm almost 60, but that was the day that everything by. I wasn't the first star of dodgeball on that particular date; the puck was hitting me. And so that opened the door for me to get a chance to begin a professional career.
Lance: What do you think was more your parents were more proud of you getting a college degree or signing a professional contract?
Glenn: Definitely the college degree. There's no question that they couldn't believe that someone who grew up next to a nuclear reactor could actually go to school in the states, and someone else would pay for all of your education. And you would come out of it with a degree or two in your back pocket.
Glenn: It's a pretty good country, Canada. Yes. And that's exactly what happened. My parents watched me play, raise a cup, and share many memories that I had as a professional. But getting that opportunity to be in a college situation and to finish a degree, one that I had started, I think there were more proud of that than the Stanley cup. In a lot of ways, although we did have one hell of a party with the cup, so you'd probably have to ask they're there, they're up in heaven watching down now, but you'd have to ask them, was the party better or was the graduation better?
Glenn: They might look at the party like a pretty cool.
Lance: Yeah, that's neat. So you're out in LA now as a professional hockey player. Tell our listeners the story about when you first found out Wayne Gretzky was coming to LA and what impact that had on the team and the game of hockey.
Glenn: But you got to remember here we are in LA.
Glenn: We had four games that were sold out. So 36 of our games, we're not sold out. We're dancing around the league with maybe the toughest team in hockey. So you're looking at Ken, Bob Gardiner. You're looking at Larry Playfair. You're looking at Tiger Williams. and, just go down the list.
Glenn: JP Kelly. It was Al Tour. It was just that we could beat anybody up any time, any place. Now handling the pocket and having stick blades on our sticks. That was a different issue. We weren't good at that, but dancing around the league with yellow pants and yellow helmets was not winning a lot. And then that summer, I was in Pickering, a nice Saturday afternoon, and I'd run into Bob McKenzie, who is hockey's guru for scoops in Canada, random to a parking lot.
Glenn: And he said to me, are you going to the press conference? And. What press conference? You guys are getting Wayne Gretzky on Tuesday or whatever day of the week it was. And I thought Bob McKenzie had lost his mind. The best player in the game at the time will come to the LA Kings. Not a chance later, the LA Kings announce Wayne Gretzky, now a Kings member.
Glenn: So if you think about the transformation, we changed our sweaters. We had Bruce McNall's the owner. It was the place to be to go to a game. The star appeal from Ronald Reagan going to games, John Candy, Neil Diamond, and Tom Hanks. It's the who's who of LA coming to watch the LA games. We were the. Every game was sold out, both at home and on the road.
Glenn: With the addition of one player, we brought our a hundred-point hockey club. The first training camp was in Victoria. And when Gretz got there, he did not disappoint. He sat beside me, and I spent the entire training camp not picking pucks out of the net that he had scored on me, not getting to know him, telling reporters to get off my damn equipment because I was sitting beside him.
Glenn: And all they did was stand ads on my pants. And it was like, please, would you give me some space? But there were more reporters at that first training camp than at the Stanley cup final the year before, where Edmonton and others had won the cup. And so that revolution of hockey led to, just a growth in the Southern sphere of hockey, whether it was Florida, look at what Tampa has done again, all over as a result of Wayne Gretzky coming to California, the Ducks winning the cup in 06 that wouldn't happen without Wayne, the San Jose Sharks, Arizona, the list goes on and on .Expansion was based on the fact hockey became something big in the south.
Glenn: And I watched it in LA. I watched the stars that wanted to play this sport, and I watched them build new rinks. And those new rinks led to new players and led the draft picks. Currently, from LA that are players getting picked in the first round.
Glenn: We didn't even have lines on the ice. You'd put the net where you thought it should be. And if they scored stick side, I just moved the net .I didn't change where I was standing, just the net. And that should be over here now. And so you think about that now, a new arena in Los Angeles, no longer the forum practice facility but state-of-the-art, and the growth of the sport based on that trade.
Glenn: Gretz took our team and elevated us to a level we didn't think we should be at.
Lance: So I, since we've moved on, there's been some incredible players that have come along with Sidney, Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid.
Lance: Do you think the great one is the greatest one ever?
Glenn: You would have to play 16 years in the league, which is a long career very long, and score 200 points a year to come close to his records, two hundred, not 20, not a hundred, which would be a benchmark of exceptional play at, in any given season 200.
Glenn: And, people will say the game was different. The goalies were different. I lived it. And he was in my mind and the greatest to ever play now. Okay. You can argue, Gordie Howe, and we're arguing. Would you rather have a Ferrari or Lamborghini? Great. I'll take either one of them. You could argue Bobby Orr maybe not have the longevity of a career that a Wayne had or a Gordy had.
Glenn: Gordy played in five different decades, for goodness sakes. These are all, you can have a conversation and argument, we can do it over a beer. I'd take any one of the three. I played with Wayne on two different occasions with two different teams. So that's just my life lesson of getting a chance to play with them, watch his magic, and playing against them, preparing for a playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers.
Glenn: And at the end of the first period, it's six, nothing Edmonton. And all you're thinking is can we keep the clock. And would somebody please start the jet because this thing is over. And we, in one particular game, we were losing by a touchdown and maybe a little bit of a field goal, and the glass broke behind the nets and they were going to take some time to fix.
Glenn: It was in the second period. And the referee came over to tell Pat Quinn that was the case. And Pat said to the referee, do you mind if we keep the clock running, you can fix the glass but keep the clock running. But that's a great conversation to have, but those three, you can put Mario and Beliveau into the conversation as well.
Glenn: These are royalty in our game that paved the roads , players like you and I to drive on . They're the greatest that ever laced up their skates.
Lance: I had grown up, I had a life-sized poster with Gretz. My uncle worked at the airport, and it somehow fell off a truck.
Lance: And I know it's the same way you got your first pair of hockey goalie pads falling off the truck. But he was Wayne I looked at him before I went to bed every night when I woke up in the morning, not wanting to be him, but just like idolizing the guy. He's just he's he doesn't have any bad marks on him.
Lance: The guy has just been the perfect ambassador.
Glenn: Yeah. And, sometimes people when you get to know them, you realize there is no phoniness. There he is genuine in every way. And when it comes to our alumni, when it comes to the players that have played the game with them against him, before him and we'll play after there is nobody that is more giving to the alumni group than Wayne, he clearly understands what the honor was and privileged to play in the NHL.
Glenn: He doesn't take it for granted. He's from a small town in Canada, his dad would open up the museum that he had in the basement to let any hockey fan come in and wander around it. He's a grounded, caring person with all kinds of extraordinary traits. And yet, he's a guy where you wouldn't know he played hockey if you walk into his house.
Glenn: There are no Stanley cups. There are no frame sweaters. He's got a picture of him in the. That's it. So clearly, you must be someone important cause you know that guy and that's not the Pope saying it. Okay. That's saying that about Wayne and the Pope. But no airs about them and the right time, the right player, the right person to help grow our sport.
Glenn: What we have today to 32 teams when it started with six and wow. It went to 12 and 16 and 21. A lot of that has to do with the fact that he opened up everyone's eyes south of the border to make a big difference, particularly in states where sandals, shorts, and running shoes are the flavor of the day.
Lance: Thank you, Wayne. We appreciate it. It was unreal watching your career and still what you're doing today. So your next stop saw you. Move over to the New York Islanders. And during the 92/ 93 season, something happened that shocked the hockey world. And that was you guys defeating the two-time Stanley Cup champion, Pittsburgh Penguins in the Western Conference finals.
Lance: Did that one go seven?
Glenn: seven games, seven games, and overtime. So we couldn't double overtime, but yeah, over time a David Bolan goal in game seven was the dagger. Yes.
Lance: That had to have been a bit of a party after that.
Glenn: I think the big thing here at the team we had with the Islanders if you look at the team that played in the eighties, they did something that no other team will ever do.
Glenn: They won 19 straight playoff series. Wow. No one will do that. Toronto currently,Can't get into the second round. They haven't won too. So let's look at 19 straight, they were a dynasty, and then it was time to rebuild and enter a bunch of young guys like myself. We had three young defensemen.
Glenn: We were rebuilding in every way. We still had some holdovers with experience but for the most part, it was rebuilt time. We came up against this Pittsburgh Penguins team. We had lost Pierre Turgeon in the series before when Dale Hunter hit him 35 minutes after he scored the clincher.
Glenn: You remember? So we lost our best player and went up against the giant. We're going up against really a dynasty team in Pittsburgh and Al Arbor, who was a great coach. The best I ever had pulled his seat up in front of the locker room and I asked each guy one by one if they could just tie a shift against Mario not win, just tie.
Glenn: And each guy of course would say yes, of course, I can. And then to Pat Flatly, yes. Ray Ferraro. Yes. Then while hope. Yes. So there you go. First, period's over. Let's go to the second period. And Al's message was, all we have to do is one win one shift in game seven and overtime and we beat. And we get to game seven overtime, the David Volkl and I thought he's right.
Glenn: That's exactly what happened, but he broke it down in the simplest of ways. If we had thought about the enormity of beating Pittsburgh, we wouldn't have done it. They had everybody Jaguar ,Lemieux, Francis is just go down the list. They're almost all in the hall of fame. Lemieux single-handedly could have beat us.
Glenn: And so just taking it step-by-step shift-by-shift, we did something spectacular for our group in the nineties. Something that we couldn't believe at the start of that series that we could do, but Al put that seed of faith in us with the comment and the belief that we believe.
Glenn: And in that locker room, we did, it's hard to believe, but we did. And it was a great series. Ray Ferraro was at his best. And we pulled it together at the right time against probably what, which I still see as Mario today. And he looked at me and said, How did you guys win? I can't give you the answer, but we did.
Glenn: And we've lived as a group ever since. And cherish that memory for sure.
Lance: So in that off-season, I believe there was an expansion draft that saw you on the move again after that.
Lance: But what happened to you? And when you were claimed by Anaheim in the expansion draft that year, tell us what happened after that?
Glenn: After the Islander series in the season was over, there was a group of us that went to Ireland for vacation, and we're staying on the west coast of Ireland and the little place called Connemara county, and no cell phones back in the day, we had no cell phones.
Glenn: There was no phone where we stayed, no phone. And so picked up again by Anaheim. Islanders left me unprotected. And then day two of the expansion draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to pick up one player from the expansion draft as part of their rules from the expansion draft. The year before they picked me, the Rangers at the time had lost John van B's
Glenn: We're looking for a goalie to work with Mike Rechter and work, trade out with the New York Rangers, I think in advance. And the whole time when they went from Anaheim to Tampa, to the New York Rangers, everyone was desperately trying to get ahold of me to tell me that I had made the move and was now a doc.
Glenn: And then, oh no, now he's a lightning. No. Now he's a ranger and couldn't get a hold of me calling my home. No answer, no return call. I think everybody thought I was a complete asshole like this. Guy's not calling me. And I didn't know that it was even picked up. It wasn't until we went to one of the oldest pubs in Ireland that Pat flatly decided to call his mom to see how she was doing.
Glenn: And she was the one who told pat in her Irish brogue, he's now a Ranger. You wouldn't believe it's Pat. And again, Pat couldn't believe it because of the journey we had been on with the Islanders, but that was the case. So I went from Benedict, Arnold, went from the Islanders to the Rangers, the two most hated rivals.
Glenn: And I don't know if I was ever embraced by the Islanders again. And I don't know if I was ever fully embraced by the Rangers because I played with the Islanders and that certainly led to a Stanley cup and a chance at doing something that, once you make the NHL, that's your dream and then staying as your dream, but winning a cup becomes that final piece on the chessboard in it.
Glenn: And it worked out.
Lance: So you had the big apple, but before we get into talking about winning the Stanley. You, not me. There was an interesting character in your head coach. I'm curious to hear your thoughts regarding Mike Keenan's coaching style because I had him when I was down in Florida and it was challenging.
Glenn: I think there'll be a gross understatement. Challenging. Yeah, we had full-blown mutinies. When it was, we would not take the ice until they fire this coach. You can't hold the NHL hostage. This is, hold your strike here. We've got to play the game. But Mike had a way of challenging every player and finding their limit was.
Glenn: And, as players, sometimes we're told your coaches do what your coach says. So there's never a limit. There's never a line. And when a coach crosses that line, we just move it a little further ahead. And so for certain players, it was a real challenge and he always found those players out and never stopped.
Glenn: He was relentless from a goalie standpoint For most nights, Mike knew that if he was starting, he wasn't going to finish. And if I was starting, I wasn't going to finish. There was goalie changing. He would have done it if he could have changed goalies on the fly. So there were challenges through that year and right to the very end and we had, but we had great leadership in New York when you've got Kevin Lowe and you've got Mark Messier and you've got Craig McTavish, we probably had 50 to 60 Stanley Cups in the locker room.
Glenn: So it's easy to rely on a Mark Messier to say, go change the attitude of the Atilla the Hun in there. Would you. 'cause we're sick and tired of him right now. So Messier was able to do that. But the season did not go without some challenges. There's no question about it. We were a team that just simply won and we won with him and sometimes we won in spite of them, but we were darn good.
Glenn: And we won and President's Trophy champions that year. So almost from wire to wire, we were untouchable most nice that we played and it led to really, he is a part of it but ending three generations of hockey fans that had not seen a championship
Lance: Let's go to going into that Eastern conference final game six and the. He's quoted saying we will win. And that just went wildfire through the papers. I thought it was hilarious. How big a deal it was because what else would he say? Are you going to win? Are you going to lose well, you were going to
Glenn: What would the headlines be? We have a tee time for tomorrow? And that's I guess, I still recall that day and seeing the headlines and it was all, and again, New York there are enough papers for everybody to get your hands on, but that's the headline, that's the cover we will win.
Glenn: And if anybody can make that assertion, he's the guy he's got six Stanley cups, arguably one of the greatest leaders, not in hockey, in any sport. And so when mark says we will win. We're going to follow you. And not only did he say we will win, he scored a hat-trick that game and was the dagger for the New Jersey Devils in the third period, a hockey game that we should have lost.
Glenn: If not for Mike Richter, arguably one of the best games I ever saw him play. We forget that we talk about Messier's proclamation of winning, but we would never have got to the third period, if not for Mike Richter odd-man rushes are high-scoring chances and there were no less than 25 of them in the first brilliance.
Glenn: So having them out to dry would be an understatement, mass mess has that ability. And had he carried that he had swagger and you're right. What else? What's he going to say? We're going to limp through this one and have a good summer, everybody that wasn't the case.
Lance: I was fortunate to play with some really good captains, but I think that his, track record and just the mystique that follows that guy, that he was put on a different level from a leadership standpoint, not even, he w he had that status before he got there, but man, he took it to another level after that game.
Glenn: Even when we played against the Vancouver Canucks in the next round, so game seven to start that final against Vancouver winner take all, you watch the opening faceoff and he's up against Trevor Linden. I think he speared him. He punched him in the face. He elbowed him in the head.
Glenn: He crosschecked him across the neck. And then he slashed them in the back of the legs all within about six seconds. All of them would have been suspendable offenses. But the message to Trevor was this? Do you think you got a chance against me tonight? This is what, and a mass had that ability to take players too.
Glenn: He demanded a lot from us. He said very little at times, but the greatness of mark would have been the fact that everybody mattered. When it came to a player, a trainer, a person who picked up towels in the locker room, everybody mattered to that team and he made sure everyone knew you mattered. And that was the greatness of mark.
Glenn: Forget what he did. Whistle the whistle. Forget the fact that a 35-pound trophy was lifted over his head, six times forget the fact that there was a trophy named after him in the NHL. I guess they must've missed our email addresses past. You know what he did off the ice to make everybody feel like they were an integral part of the hockey team.
Glenn: And one of the greatest players I ever got a chance to play with learned a ton from him and to this day, continue to learn from them.
Lance: Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. Your last stop was the Toronto Maple Leafs and was that a team that you hope that you maybe could play for at some point being there you're from Ontario.
Glenn: Yeah. I was a kid, Again, go back to when I was five that's when the Leafs last won, the cup 1967 and, winning the company or 54 years and three generations of misery thinking if I could come back to Toronto and we could do that here in Toronto, my hometown, my team, that I grew up watching the Johnny Bowers and Davie Keon.
Glenn: So that tells you our age those were great teams, but again, they hadn't had a championship in three generations. They're getting close to four now, but if we could have done that in Toronto, that would have been certainly something very special. So I was being courted by a number of teams.
Glenn: The Montreal Canadians were one. Toronto Maple Leafs were too. And at the wire, the Toronto Maple Leafs came forward with an opportunity for me. And we were, again, a team that needed to rebuild to make some change. And Pat Quinn came in and he was the guy and we were close to winning a cup. We went to the semifinals, which would be, five wins away from getting to the Stanley cup and raising it.
Glenn: But we weren't able to get to the finals, just the semis. And it would have been a dream come true to do that, but it was a special moment putting on that sweater player. As they talk about putting on the Team Canada sweater, or, if you can pick a team that you'd like to put that sweater on the Maple Leaf, that was a proud moment for me wearing that sweater from that team.
Lance: That's awesome. That's awesome. Every player signs a professional contract at some point. They have to have a conversation with themselves, can I do this one more year, or is that it, was that a tough decision for you? And that came
Glenn: up? No, I think you know what, sometimes you start the year and you think, okay, is this going to be my last year?
Glenn: It started the year you have that internal conversation, heart, to heart with yourself. And then there are times later on in my career in my late thirties, I thought about it after each game thinking, wow, do I want to go back and do it again tomorrow? It's hard. When you're 36 and 37 and then I was 40 and I was thinking about it during the.
Glenn: Looking at the bench and the door. What have, I just went off? I think anyone would miss me. And I knew at that point that the time was up and you're beat up at 40 years old. You really shouldn't be doing and playing in the NHL at that age. You've done your time and you'll never get a better job ever.
Glenn: So you are reluctant to let that one go. But I definitely knew that my time was up games. When I finished playing, it would take me at least six to seven days to recover Sunday, six to seven minutes. It would take me a long time. I enjoyed every minute of it and walking away from it, I was well assured that it was the right decision.
Lance: So you, before we leave, your player part of your journey my last season, I was in Colorado and got to. Go through training camp. I didn't make it through training camp, but you got Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake, and Patrick Waugh. And that, and from a goalie perspective, I've never seen a goalie in practice get pissed off so much when he got scored on.
Lance: And you make light a lot of your ability in your career, but you were a heck of a goaltender. What was your mentality when you were practicing? Cause you had some great players, but what was your mindset on stopping pucks? Were you ferocious like Patrick or were you just more relaxed?
Glenn: My nickname was head case Healy. I need to say. Or Ray Ferraro used to call me. Barney 'cause I was purple all the time from, getting pissed off at we're all competitive. You are paid to not be first started Dodge ball. You're paid to stop the puck and you're competitive in the sense you want to make sure that you do that.
Glenn: The goalies in the sixties and seventies, the legend of standing to the one side of the net and just waving a stick at the puck the Smokey McCloud's of the world, that when he played with the Oilers, you should jump out of the way the puck cause his thought process was, if I can get out of the way of them in practice, I can get in the way of them in a game.
Glenn: I didn't have that philosophy. I was out to make sure. I was competitive and stopped. And even when I was not the starter, but the backup, my job was to make sure it was tough to score. Cause scoring in the NHL is not easy. So why should it be easy in practice? You make sure your guys earn it. And but yeah, very competitive, a little bit of a hothead, and the nickname headcase Healey was deserved.
Lance: Okay. All right. That paints the perfect picture. So thank you for that. One thing that the players association does once you do retire is they have that life after hockey program, where players can take get some instruction, take courses, and weekend seminars to get a little knowledge and skills.
Lance: Before they jump into the business world. You got into broadcasting once you retired, that happened immediately. Or did you, was there a little bit of a gap a year or two before you transitioned, into that next phase of your life?
Glenn: No, I, when you're in Toronto news travels fast.
Glenn: And once the news was out that I was not returning with the Leafs, I was that same day that Hockey Night Canada called me to say we got some interest in joining our team. And my message to them was pretty simple. I'll try it if I stink and maybe some people do think I did. You never know. But if I didn't think I was up to it, I would give it up relatively quick.
Glenn: The fortunate thing with Hockey Night in Canada, whether it's working with a great, like Don Whitman or a Bob Cole, these are the best in the business. You really can't look back. Because they're that great. And so decided to try it and did it for many years. We were the first group to ever go between the benches that became a broadcast location.
Glenn: It led to me having the ability to do some Stanley cup finals. Some of the greatest people that work in trucks and out of trucks and in the broadcast to work with some of the greats like Ron McLean and Don Cherry list goes on and on to get a chance to do the Olympics on many occasions.
Glenn: And so that second journey for me, the transition was real quick-stepped into it. Didn't know where it would take me. And initially, I was in a stream without a paddle, but with some great teaching for can great people found a way to get the paddle in my hand and direct the ship the right way.
Glenn: But again, a great experience. And, we know about hockey, we know a thing or two about a thing, or two hockey would be one thing we know about. And so it was easy to transition to that side because it wasn't about changing tires. I don't know how to change a tire. I don't know how to fix a car.
Glenn: I don't know how to do woodwork. I don't know how to do plumbing. That would have been a tough transition. This one was relatively easy.
Lance: I thought Pierre McGuire was the one that started the, between the benches
Glenn: the glass. Yeah, good one next trick. It also is almost a general manager, 32,000 different teams, but neither did it.
Glenn: No, the lockout in 2004 hockey night in Canada, tried to do it to see whether getting the fans closer to the ice would be something that would be appealing. And so we had, we tried it with some of the teams, like the Marlies, they were still playing, so we tried it there. And then when we started back up after the.
Glenn: We had some unique stuff. I recall one of the first games I did with Pittsburgh, we had a radar gun between the benches and I would clock the speed of shots from the point. And so here I am between the benches, this radar gun in my hand, and Sidney Crosby skates by me, it looks at me and says, "What the hell is that?"
Glenn: It was the Radar gun I just decided to bring this from home. But Hockey Night in Canada was the first to try to do it, to champion it. And I'm proud to say now that is a that's a broadcast location in almost every arena. That's one of the things that they love to put in again at the game is very easy from the booth.
Glenn: You're hundreds of feet away. It looks very slow. The ice looks big up from between the benches. You can dictate and tell what speed is. You can tell what a hit feels like, whether it's thunderous or not. You can sense deer on the bench, whether a team's panicky or not panicky that is tough to do from a broadcast booth, but easy to do from four feet away.
Glenn: And so it has led to some interesting moments that you can provide to the fans that are sitting at home. We'd love to play in the NHL, aren't there, but bring the fans closer to the game. And that's what, we've all, that's what we tried to do. And that's what they continue to do. At the national level,
Lance: I was there, I played there and I also enjoy, I enjoy those segments as a fan now, today.
Lance: Pretty cool. Thank you. Let's transition back to the early nineties, my wife and I went on a cruise, and unbeknown to us There were four hockey legends on the ship. Jim Craig, Darren Pang, Stan Makita, and Ted Lindsay. They were promoting something I can't remember. And they had a few meet and greets that they had to do.
Lance: So my wife and I introduced ourselves at one of those. And we ended up having the opportunity to spend some time with them. In the days that followed, which was amazing to hear all the stories at the time I had no idea what Mr. Lindsay did for all the players that played before us. You hold him in the highest regard for what he did.
Lance: And he also gave you some advice along the way. Talk about Mr. Lindsey for a bit, if you would.
Glenn: If you think about what Ted was about he basically gave up his career. For all of the players in the sense that he started the NHL players association and he started it because of a lack of fairness for other players, a friend of his, that he played with died cause he had no place to live, was penniless, and died living in his car.
Glenn: There were players that he would wear his underwear for the morning skate and the rookie who was in the afternoon would get. Pair of underwear that he had worn in the morning. Skate unwashed. Here you go. You're the rookie. This is what you get, a lack of fairness with regards to salaries, a lack of fairness with a pension.
Glenn: So lack of fairness with a whole bunch of the working conditions for NHL players, and he sought out to make a difference. He wasn't looking to create union kind of tactics. He called it an association but just wanted people to be treated fairly. And as a result, at the time he was blackballed in every way, was sent to Chicago and his career ended much too early.
Glenn: And so Ted did something for all of us to make a difference for all of us. And so I can't say enough great things about Ted, even when it came to 2004 and we wanted to get pensions a little bit higher for the 140 guys that had paved the way for us. He was the guy leading the charge with Gary Bettman and with Bob Goodnow to make again a difference.
Glenn: Long after he had retired and Ted gave me some advice along the way, I think, which is good. And that was, we were sitting one day and he told me that he liked the corners, and I, as a goalie wondered Ted I've never been in one, but what does that mean? And he told me that.
Glenn: He liked them because he could tell right away when he was going into the corner, whether he was going in with a man or a chicken shit. And so the message to me was in your life, don't be afraid to go on the corners. Don't be afraid to make a difference. And that stuck with me. And when I look at Ted's career and what he did for us, he knew right away he was going on the corners, but he could tell if he was going in with a man or a chicken shit and he wasn't.
Glenn: And so he made a difference and was willing to go into the corners for you and me to make a difference for every player and every player that plays today cuts a check for 15.5 million and 8 million and 10 million. Those were not the days when, you know uh, Ted Lindsay would have a pension of about $8,000 Canadian for a year, not $8,000 a shift.
Glenn: For a year. And so he sacrificed a lot for us and couldn't say enough great things about Ted Lindsay and what he gave to every current player and every player who played before the current players, he was a real pioneer and made a difference for all of us.
Lance: So that impacted you because you ended up leaving the broadcasting sector and you end up joining the NHL alumni association.
Glenn: Yeah. So it was a, again, a chance to make a difference. And like our job with the alumni, every player that plays the game, there are a couple of things I know. One is, that they're all going to retire. Sidney Crosby will retire. He's not playing, I'll get Ovechkin as an alumni and he'll be on our team, but not every player transitions well.
Glenn: And so our job with the alumni is pretty simple. It's how do you make tomorrow? Better than today. And it might be things like I need a little help financially. It might be, that I need a little help emotionally. It might be, I need a little bit of help to make tomorrow better than today with mental wellness, it might be, I need a little help and just transitioning to, to find what I need with a purpose for the next journey because believe me, all players that second wave and that journey that they go on after they play, they deserve to have as great a journey as when they played.
Glenn: And so that's our role is, if we can fill in the void to make a difference, make tomorrow better than today for players, spouses and their kids, that's what we do. And we do it every day and we do it with passion and we make sure that every player as they need things from another teammate like we do as good teammates, we get it done.
Lance: Thank you for continuing to pave that path that Mr. Lindsay started I can't. Thank you enough for your time. First. I want to congratulate you on an amazing career. I think you made it to the top. We made it to the top and it's special, it's a special thing. I don't know if I knew how special it was until years after I retired, but congratulations on a great career.
Lance: I wanna just say that my wife and I, we have a deal. You might have one with yours, but if someone comes knocking on the door for her at the time, it was Henrik Lundqvist. And for me, it was Katy Perry. You basically would open up the door and go, oh she's in the study. I'll be back tomorrow and.
Lance: For me, I don't know if I would pick Katy Perry now I might have to be you because I've enjoyed this conversation so much. I think I would just say, honey, leave. We're going to crack a bottle of wine. We'll see you
Glenn: later. I love it. And I'm happy to join you at any time I tell ya. But it's been great.
Glenn: Again, we talked right from the start. Every player's got a story. Let's tell those stories because it matters. And it's been enjoyable as well, and I'm happy to do it anytime. And again, you're doing great work and telling some great stories about some great people that have played the best sport in the world, a better than any of the others.
Glenn: So I'm proud to say that, Hey, basketball, football, and baseball might disagree, but I don't care what they think. I know what I think and what you think so that we're all it matters today.
Lance: Thank you for sharing everything. And continue to, as you say, how can we make tomorrow better than today?
Lance: And the other message I want everyone to remember is don't be afraid to go onto the corners, don't be a chicken shit. Thank you, Glen. I appreciate it. You were amazing and maybe we will do this again
Lance: That concludes another episode of the hockey journey podcast.