Curtis Glencross could not have scripted a better way to make his Edmonton Oilers debut.
Having been raised in Provost, the six-foot-one, 195-pound left winger dreamed of playing in the Battle of Alberta.
Tonight he'll face the Calgary Flames in his first game with the Oilers.
"I was more an Oilers fan than a Flames fan growing up, for sure," Glencross said. "I have lots of friends that are Flames fans and they were giving me a hard time yesterday, but at the same time, I'm glad to be here.
'PUT ON THE JERSEY'
"To put the Oiler jersey on, it's something I always wanted to do as a kid. Coming into the room this morning there is a lot of history here and the guys have been great so far and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year."
Glencross, 25, was acquired on Friday in exchange for defenceman Dick Tarnstrom.
Yesterday he took part in his first practice with the team, skating on a line with Jarret Stoll and Sam Gagner.
"He skates real well, he's an energy guy and he seems to shoot the puck real well, so we'll see," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "We need more collective grit. I thought we got it last game against Dallas where we got a lot of hits. We have to continue that. He should add a certain amount of energy, especially with all the divisional games coming up."
In 36 games this season Glencross has six goals, six assists and 25 penalty minutes with a plus-three rating. Born in Kindersley, Sask., Glencross grew up in Provost where he played most of his minor hockey.
From there he went on to play with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League before getting a scholarship to play at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
"It was a good experience," Glencross said. "At the worst I was going to get a degree out of it. I had a four-year full ride which was good. I was pumped to go up there, it was something new. It's a beautiful country up there, I met a lot of great people and I was fortunate enough to sign a pro contract after two years."
Glencross was signed by the Anaheim Ducks as a free agent. He went on to spend three years in their minor-league system, playing with Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid in Portland.
Last January, Glencross was traded to the Blue Jackets. This year is his first full year in the NHL.
"This trade caught me completely by surprise, I didn't have a clue," he said. "I was kind of surprised, but when I was told where I was going I was pretty excited. Any time you come back home to play in Alberta it's pretty awesome."
With Glencross thrown in the mix, MacTavish now has a few more options up front. Tonight Glencross will play on the Oilers third line, taking Robert Nilsson's spot.
NILSSON, THORESEN OUT
Nilsson and Patrick Thoresen are the odd men out, and depending on whether Shawn Horcoff is able to play with his sore shoulder, another forward will have to make way.
"It's going to be interesting out there," Glencross said. "I'm excited. It's going to be fun to finally play in a Battle of Alberta.
"The biggest thing is to try and get my feet under me. It's going to be pretty nerve-racking at first. I'm going to definitely try my best, skate hard, bang the body a little bit and see what happens."