5 minutes with NHL goaltender Curtis McElhinney
Play drop-in hockey at Howelsen Ice Arena and it might be a little harder to score sometimes. One of town’s newest locals is NHL goaltender Curtis McElhinney, 34, currently wearing jersey No. 35 for the Toronto Maple Leafs. McElhinney played goalie for Colorado College before being drafted in 2002 by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round. From there, he went on to play for Anaheim, Ottawa, Phoenix and Columbus before landing in his current backup role in Toronto. With his team knocked out of this year’s playoff run in the first round, we caught up with the 6-foot, 2-inch, 200-pound netminder for his take on moving to Steamboat with wife, Ashleigh, and children, Trenten, 9, and Jaxen, 7.
This article is from the summer issue of Steamboat Living magazine.
Steamboat Living: Why Steamboat?
McElhinney: I grew up in London, Ontario, and then moved out west to Calgary, Alberta. I came here on a family ski trip when I was just 6 years old (I still have my lift ticket!), so it’s always been a name that’s stuck in my head. With traveling for hockey all the time, we’ve been searching for a permanent location to put down some roots. Steamboat seemed like the perfect destination with all its outdoor activities and a great community to raise our family in.
SL: What do you like about it?
McElhinney: The first thing we liked was the outdoor activities Steamboat offers. But what really sold us on moving there was the people and community that made us feel like it could be home.
SL: What other activities do you like doing here when not on the ice?
McElhinney: I love to fly-fish and hike, but I think mountain biking is going to be my next hobby.
SL: Does your contract restrict you from skiing?
McElhinney: It’s in the fine print that we should avoid activities that could be harmful. Unfortunately, we don’t have much free time during the season so skiing hasn’t been a huge concern yet.
SL: What’s your take on Steamboat’s hockey scene?
McElhinney: Steamboat has a great program here with a lot of dedicated individuals trying to grow the sport. It also has a great youth program.
SL: You’ve played for six NHL teams. Any chance you’ll ever become an Avalanche?
McElhinney: It’s a possibility with the way hockey works sometimes. It just depends on where an organization is at depth-wise for goalies and if they feel somebody like me would be a good fit for their plan.
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CLARK — Eighth-grade students at North Routt Community Charter School in Clark traded in four walls and desks for snowsuits and ice fishing poles Friday as part of the school’s curriculum prioritizing outdoor appreciation.