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'The best year of my life,' says ex-Wheatie

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A professional hockey career filled with plenty of ups and downs reached a new high for Scott Glennie on Tuesday.

The former Brandon Wheat Kings star from Winnipeg concluded his third season as a pro by lifting the Calder Cup over his head after helping the Texas Stars win the American HockeyàLeague championship.

The victory was the culmination of a hard-fought final series against the St. John's IceCaps -- the farm team of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets -- with the Stars winning 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night in Newfoundland to take the best-of-seven final in five games.

"It was the best feeling of my life," Glennie said Thursday from the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, Texas, where the Stars were preparing for a championship rally. "Best group of guys I played with, and there wasn't a better feeling I could imagine. It was awesome."

Despite going only five games, the series was anything but short, with the last three contests all decided in overtime.

Plus, after the Stars won Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead, building conflicts in both cities forced the teams to sit idle for four days in St. John's before returning to the ice for the final two battles on Monday and Tuesday.

Rather than fret about it, Glennie said the Stars decided to relax and enjoy a bit of Maritime hospitality before getting back to work.

"The series definitely went a little longer than expected with how much time we had to wait," he said. "But we were up there, it was a great town, everyone treated us well and getting the three wins in overtime there, that was awesome...

"Honestly, the fact that we could pull out three of them on the road, I really didn't expect it at all. The guys worked so hard all year and I think we deserved all of it."

The championship might be just the thing to kickstart the career of the Dallas Stars' eighth overall pick from the 2009 NHLàDraft.

After getting better as his rookie campaign went on and making his NHL debut at the end of the 2011-12 season, the speedy right-winger was limited to only 37 games and 14 points by injuries in 2012-13.

Glennie started the final season of his three-year entry-level contract on the shelf again after injuring his knee during the NHL pre-season, returning in November to post 15 goals and 28 points in 50 games as Texas posted the best regular-season record in the AHL.

He added six goals and 10 points in 20 playoff games, including two goals and an assist in the opener of the final, and he believes this championship experience will help boost him to the next level.

"I think any NHL team, when you look at people winning in the 'A', I think that's big for all of us," he said.

"For me, that's going to definitely be a big step for me. It was the best year of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way."

-- The Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2014 B6

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