With his hockey playing days behind him, Donnie Glennie went to school, learned a trade and was making good money as a carpenter.
The longer he plied his trade, the more he realized he was not passionate about the work.
“You start to evaluate things when you are standing on a bridge in the middle of winter and you have been working on the same bridge for a year and a half,” he said.
So back to school he went, earning a degree in Sports Management from Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. The past two years he worked with Canlan Ice Sports, North America’s leader in ice sports facility operation and programming.
Last week, Glennie got his dream job, taking the position of WHL Manager, Hockey Operations. He’s in charge of player recruitment and development programs.
“I’m really excited about it,” Glennie said. “This is right up my alley. Even though I have been out of the league for 10 years, I still keep up with it every day. I may not have been the best player, but in a management role, I think it will be good.”
Glennie, 29, went back to college at 24, and it was through one of his former professors that he learned about the opening at the WHL.
“At the time, I wasn’t even looking,” Glennie said. “But it was my dream job. I called Kirt Hill (who held the job before Glennie), who gave me an idea of what the job was all about.”
He was sold. He applied and got the job. Glennie hit the ground running before he even had a chance to set up his voicemail at the WHL office in Calgary.
“A lot of my role is to do the recruiting for the league,” he said. “I will go to bantam tournaments and explain to the kids and their parents the benefits of the league. I am so passionate about this league. I did one last weekend in Minneapolis. It came off naturally. I was talking from the heart.
“This league has been very, very good to the Glennie boys (his younger brother, Scott, played for the Brandon Wheat Kings). We met lifelong friends and it paid for school. It’s a no-brainer to want to be part of it.”
Glennie, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, played his rookie year in the WHL with the Americans. He played with the likes of Carey Price, Taylor Procyshen, Shaun Vey, Ian McDonald, Jason Beeman and Logan Stephenson.
“My favorite thing about Tri-City was the people,” Glennie said. “They were incredible. And, the weather was great. I remember walking around the Kamiakin campus in the winter in a T-shirt and shorts.”
Glennie was one of the five players chosen by the now-defunct Chilliwack Bruins for their expansion team. He played one full season for the Bruins.
“I enjoyed my time in Tri-City, but going to an expansion team was a new experience,” he said. “There were a lot of guys in the same position. You recognized early that you had to put in the time in this league. I had Don Nachbaur as a coach. He told me to work and get stronger and you will have opportunities.”
Now, Glennie is the one coaches and general managers will look to for information about players.
“One of the best parts of this job is you get to watch a lot of hockey and talk hockey with scouts and general managers,” Glennie said. “That is the dream.”