Orland Kurtenbach – Athlete

Orland Kurtenbach’s prominence in hockey began with his junior career with the Prince Albert Mintos.

Playing for four years in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, “Kurt” never had less than 71 points. The Cudworth native capped his junior career in 1956‑57 with at 103‑ point season and a Memorial Cup Championship with the Flin Flon Bombers.

A long professional career began the next season in the old Western Hockey League with the Saskatoon Quakers and then the Vancouver Canucks, where he was the league’s Coast Division Rookie Of The Year in 1957‑58. He continued in the New York Rangers’ farm system, with stops in Buffalo and Springfield, before making his National Hockey League debut in 1960‑61.  Kurtenbach was drafted from the Rangers by the Boston Bruins in 1961, and saw action over the next two seasons with the Bruins, Providence and San Francisco. In the 1962‑63 season he was a member of the San Francisco club which won the Lester Patrick Cup as Western Hockey League champions.  Kurtenbach had 87 points including 30 goals that season and added 17 points in 17 playoff games, while also picking up a league high 51 penalty minutes.

Over the next 11 seasons Kurtenbach saw NHL action with Boston, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks. During that period he established himself as one of the NHL’s “heavy weights”, despite being hampered by injuries which included a partial shoulder dislocation, and then back fusion surgery in December 1968.

Kurtenbach was the first captain of the NHL Vancouver Canucks in 1970‑71. He spent his final four professional seasons with the Canucks, capturing the team’s Most Valuable Player honours in the first three.  Injuries forced Kurtenbach’s retirement after the 1973‑74 season and the next season he jumped into coaching with the Seattle Totems of the Central Hockey League. The following year saw Kurtenbach lead the Tulsa Oilers to a first‑place finish and the Adams Cup. He was also chosen the Central Hockey League Coach Of The Year. Midway through the 1976‑77 season, Kurtenbach moved back to the NHL Canucks, this time as coach. He guided Vancouver to fourth that season and to a third‑place finish the following season. After taking a break from hockey following that season, Kurtenbach returned in the 1982‑83 season to coach the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League.

Kurtenbach moved to junior hockey in the 1986‑87 season to coach the Richmond Sockeyes of the B.C. Junior Hockey League. He immediately found success, leading the Sockeyes to the Canadian Championship symbolized by the Centennial Cup. He stayed on with the Sockeyes for four seasons before the team moved to Chilliwack, where he served as the club’s president.

Inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.