Anderson, Glenn

Glenn Anderson, hockey player (b at Burnaby, BC, 2 Oct 1960). Glenn Anderson was one of the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE's top offensive players and a member of the outstanding EDMONTON OILERS lineup of the 1980s. As a youngster Anderson was reluctant to play hockey, disliking the 6am practices and discouraged by the way his ankles turned in, unlike those of his teammates. The first goal he ever scored was on his own net. Yet Anderson continued to refine his abilities, playing for the Bellingham Blazers and the University of Denver in his junior years. The Edmonton Oilers selected Anderson in the 1979 NHL draft.

Anderson's interests at the time, however, were elsewhere. Early in his career he preferred the lure of international competition and had a goal to compete at the Olympics. He consequently joined the national team and travelled through Europe and Asia in preparation for the 1980 OLYMPIC GAMES at Lake Placid, US. Though Anderson made a significant contribution to the team by scoring 4 goals, his team was unable to make the finals and watched from the stands as the US team won the gold medal. Anderson returned to the junior level, ultimately joining the Oilers for the 1980-81 season.

Anderson distinguished himself as a formidable player during his first season as an Oiler, scoring 30 goals and earning 105 points to place among the top 10 scorers that year. In particular, Anderson was skilled at rushes and was able to remain upright under the tightest of conditions. His successes continued, and along with hockey legends Wayne GRETZKY, Mark MESSIER, and Grant FUHR he helped the Oilers to an outstanding 5 STANLEY CUPS in 7 seasons (1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1989-90).

In 1992, as part of a historic trade in which the last of the 1980s Oilers dream team went to other teams, Anderson and Fuhr were traded to the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS. Anderson was again one of the top scorers in the league, helping the Leafs to a near-final Stanley Cup finish in 1993. Still, he continued to harbour the dream of playing at the Olympics. When he asked the team for permission to play at Lillehammer in 1994, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman refused him even though he had previously negotiated this option in his Leafs' contract. His goal of an Olympic medal remains unfulfilled. (Canada ultimately won silver.)

In 1994 Anderson was traded to the New York Rangers, joining former Oiler teammate Mark Messier. In the Stanley Cup finals that year, Anderson scored 3 goals, 2 of which won games for the team and ultimately secured the cup for the Rangers. He became the 4th top NHL playoff scorer of all time, joining Maurice RICHARD, Messier, Gretzky and former Oiler Jari Kurri in top playoff points.

Throughout his career Anderson preferred international competition to his NHL experiences. Fittingly, he chose to end his career in Europe, where he played in Germany, Finland, Italy and Switzerland before retiring in 1997. His NHL career, in which he amassed 498 goals and 1099 points in over 1100 games, distinguishes him from his peers. In 2008 Anderson was inducted into the HOCKEY HALL OF FAME and in 2009 the Edmonton Oilers retired his jersey (#9).