Orland Kurtenbach

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Orland Kurtenbach
1963 Topps O Kurtenbach.png
Kurtenbach during his time with the Boston Bruins
Born (1936-09-07) September 7, 1936 (age 78)
Cudworth, SK, CAN
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Vancouver Canucks
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1954–1974

Orland John Kurtenbach (born September 7, 1936) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and coach. A centre notable for his defensive skill and as one of the toughest fighters in the game, he played for several National Hockey League (NHL) teams during his twenty professional seasons, principally the Vancouver Canucks, with whom he became the NHL franchise's inaugural captain.

Early life[edit]

Kurtenbach was born in Cudworth, Saskatchewan. He grew up on a farm until his family moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, at age 10.[1] It was at this time that Kurtenbach began playing organized hockey.[1] Beginning as a defenceman, he moved to the centre position later in his career.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Kurtenbach played in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) with the Prince Albert Mintos for two seasons, also making brief appearances with the Saskatoon Quakers of the minor professional Western Hockey League (WHL) during that time. In 1957, after Prince Albert was eliminated from the SJHL playoffs, Kurtenbach finished the season with the Flin Flon Bombers, where he helped the team win a Memorial Cup.

Kurtenbach turned professional in 1957–58, signing a C-form with the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL.[1] He scored 54 points in 52 games en route to earning Rookie of the Year honours. In the playoffs, he helped the Canucks to a President's Cup championship.

The majority of Kurtenbach's early professional career would be spent in the minors, splitting time between the AHL with the Buffalo Bisons, Springfield Indians and Providence Reds, and the WHL with the San Francisco Seals and the Canucks. His best season in this stretch was 1962–63, when he notched 87 points for the Seals in 70 games and led the team in scoring in the playoffs en route to winning the league championship.

During his time in the minors, Kurtenbach made two brief appearances in the National Hockey League with the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins, totaling eighteen games, but would not play his first full NHL season until 1963–64 with the Bruins. In 1965–66, he became a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he played a primarily defensive role.[1] Toronto coach Punch Imlach designated Kurtenbach to the bottom two offensive lines, while earning mostly penalty killing time.[1] The following season, he joined the New York Rangers, where he spent four seasons. In the 1970 off-season, he was told by Rangers management he would be unprotected for the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft to be picked up by either the Buffalo Sabres or the Vancouver Canucks (the franchise left the WHL to join the NHL).[1]

Kurtenbach's plaque on the Canucks' Ring of Honour in Rogers Arena.

Kurtenbach was obtained by the Canucks and was named the franchise's first NHL captain.[1] He recorded at an NHL career high point-per-game pace with 53 points in 52 games, despite suffering a serious injury on December 23 that sidelined him until March 3.[2] The following season, he registered a career-high 61 points in 78 games. Many of Vancouver's players left the club that season, defecting to the World Hockey Association (WHA) for larger salaries.[3] Kurtenbach himself was offered a $150,000 contract with the Los Angeles Sharks, but he declined.[3] He often played on a line with Wayne Maki and Murray Hall.[1] Kurtenbach retired from the NHL after his fourth season with Vancouver.

Kurtenbach finished his NHL career with 119 goals and 213 assists for 332 points in 639 games, adding 628 penalty minutes. On October 26, 2010, Kurtenbach was the first Canucks player inducted into the team's Ring of Honour.[1] A ceremony was held prior to a Canucks' game against the Colorado Avalanche.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

The season after his NHL retirement, Kurtenbach joined the Seattle Totems of the Central Hockey League, moving behind the bench as head coach. After a losing season with Seattle, he coached two seasons with the Tulsa Oilers of the same league and won a championship in his first season with them, 1975–76, being awarded the Jake Milford Trophy as CHL coach of the year.

In 1976–77, Kurtenbach returned to the NHL to replace Phil Maloney midway through the season as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. This would mark the third time in his playing and coaching career that he would represent Vancouver. However, after one and a half seasons and a 36–62–27 record, Kurtenbach was replaced by Harry Neale at the end of the 1977–78 season. Upon his replacement, Kurtenbach would only return to coaching to represent the Springfield Indians of the AHL in 1982 and the Richmond Sockeyes of the BCHL in 1986 (whom he guided to the 1987 Centennial Cup) before retiring.

Personal life[edit]

During his time with the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL, he met his wife.[1] In the 1980s and 1990s he lived in White Rock, BC and operated a south Surrey, BC golf driving range.

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1954–55 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 1 0 0 0 0
1955–56 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 3 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 0
1957–58 Vancouver Canucks WHL 52 15 39 54 58 8 3 3 6 8
1958–59 Buffalo Bisons AHL 70 9 14 23 73 7 0 0 0 0
1959–60 Vancouver Canucks WHL 42 11 27 38 51 11 1 5 6 11
1959–60 Springfield Indians AHL 14 0 6 6 17
1960–61 Vancouver Canucks WHL 55 20 27 47 31
1960–61 New York Rangers NHL 10 0 6 6 2
1961–62 Boston Bruins NHL 8 0 0 0 6
1961–62 Providence Reds AHL 64 31 33 64 51 3 1 1 2 5
1962–63 San Francisco Seals WHL 70 30 57 87 94 17 4 13 17 51
1963–64 Boston Bruins NHL 70 12 25 37 91
1964–65 Boston Bruins NHL 64 6 20 26 86
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 70 9 6 15 54 4 0 0 0 20
1966–67 New York Rangers NHL 60 11 25 36 58 3 0 2 2 0
1967–68 New York Rangers NHL 73 15 20 35 82 6 1 0 1 26
1968–69 Omaha Knights CHL 1 0 0 0 0
1968–69 New York Rangers NHL 2 0 0 0 2
1969–70 New York Rangers NHL 53 4 10 14 47 6 1 2 3 24
1969–70 Buffalo Bisons AHL 6 1 5 6 2
1970–71 Vancouver Canucks NHL 52 21 32 53 84
1971–72 Vancouver Canucks NHL 78 24 37 61 48
1972–73 Vancouver Canucks NHL 47 9 19 28 38
1973–74 Vancouver Canucks NHL 52 8 13 21 30
NHL totals 639 119 213 332 628 19 2 4 6 70

Awards and achievements[edit]

Player[edit]

Coach[edit]

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division rank Result
Vancouver Canucks 1976-77 45 16 19 10 (42) 4th in Smythe Missed playoffs
Vancouver Canucks 1977-78 80 20 43 17 57 3rd in Smythe Missed playoffs
Total 125 36 62 27

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Derek Jory (2010-10-25). "The first". Vancouver Canucks. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  2. ^ "1970-71 Canuck Results". The Canuck Library. 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Ring of Hnour for Kurtenbach". Montreal Gazette. 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Position created
NHL Vancouver Canucks captain
197174
Succeeded by
Andre Boudrias
Preceded by
Phil Maloney
Head coach of the Vancouver Canucks
1977-78
Succeeded by
Harry Neale