SUN Hockey Pool

He's Glen-ding a hand

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

Somewhere in between feeding the horses and cleaning out the barn, Curtis Glencross found time to become a multi-millionaire Tuesday night.

A full-time grunt who follows Rae Croteau Jr.'s chuckwagon outfit across western Canada each summer, the 25-year-old left winger wrapped up an intense night at the Ponoka Stampede by putting his signature on a three-year, $3.2 million deal with the Calgary Flames. Quite fittingly, he inked it while standing in the rodeo office, completing his second Dash for Cash of the evening.

"We just finished racing in the dash for cash and I got a voicemail from my agent telling me the Flames deal just needed to be signed," said the former Edmonton Oiler.

"So I ran over to the rodeo office with Rae and got the contract faxed over. Signing it was a relief. We had couple drinks in the barn afterwards -- it was just a good atmosphere."

In a hockey world that affords NHL players the time and resources to spend their summers doing anything they want, Glencross has spent the last few off-seasons mucking it up in a less-than-glamorous gig that generally pays $1,500 a month. He does it for free.

"We can't compete with the wages he makes -- we'd be undercutting him so bad," laughed Rae's wife Allison, who had Glencross bunking with them and their three-year-old daughter up until he bought his own trailer this spring.

"We describe this as his getaway from the city -- a back to reality-check type thing. He's so stress-free. He's full of positive energy and keeps Rae on the down-low and the humour up."

Growing up on a farm two hours east of Red Deer in Provost, Glencross comes by his interest in horses naturally.

So after meeting Croteau through sponsors at the Stampede barns three years ago, he jumped at the chance to help someone who has become like a brother to him.

"My parents did rodeo and it's in my blood," said Glencross, whose father was a roper and mother was a barrel racer.

"I do this for fun. Being out with horses clears your mind. We always had horses growing up, and it's nice to get back out there with 'em. It's something different. It's not the rink or a gym. I'm kicking around instead of golfing and going to the lake all the time."

As part of his duties, which include getting his hands dirty doing everything it takes to get the horses ready, Glencross joins Croteau in the wagon for the pre-race practice turn as well as the post-race drive-by for the crowd.

On Tuesday night, announcer Les McIntyre asked on the mic if Curtis had re-signed with the Oilers.

"I just shook my head no and he said, 'Maybe you can take up chuck driving,' " laughed the former Brooks Bandit who scored 16 goals in 62 games last year, his first full NHL campaign.

"I'd actually do other sports, like rope, but outriding is too dangerous -- it voids contracts."

Having set the unofficial NHL record for fastest skater at the Oilers skills competition last year, Glencross fits in with Darryl Sutter's plan to get younger, quicker and bigger.

Finding a deft scoring touch late in the season after being acquired from Columbus, the 6-ft.-1, 195-lb. free agent became a low priority for an Oilers team he grew up idolizing.

"We know all the Sutters -- my dad runs an auction market in Red Deer selling cattle and he handles Brian's stock," said Glencross of the natural connection with Calgary.

"I play into the Sutter style of game -- I'm an energy kind of guy who likes to bang and crash, hopefully kill some penalties and throw in a few goals. Take care of my own end."

And, apparently, anything else that needs to be done.


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