Right-winger Bill Glennie was one of the brightest Canadian stars to come to this country after World War Two. He scored over 1,000 points during his 12 seasons in Harringay Arena, and appeared on numerous All-Star teams.
Bill was virtually a one-club man. After winning the London Cup with Harringay Greyhounds in his first season in Britain, he moved to the arena’s other side, the Racers, and entertained the fans in the superb 10,000-capacity arena in north London until it was tragically converted to a warehouse in 1958.
During his time there, the Racers were consistently one of the top teams, winning two league titles and four Autumn Cups. Though never the number one scorer, he was hardly ever out of the top ten.
His best season was 1954-55, the first season of the British National League, when he scored 48 goals (113 points) in 60 games and was voted Player of the Year. Racers won the league and Autumn Cup with him as their player-coach.
Tall and rangy at six feet and 175 pounds, he was a tough, two-way skater whose favourite move was to circle behind his own defence to check an unsuspecting attacker.
Rated among the finest forwards of the post-war era, his 12-season points total came to 1,043 (516 goals) in 613 games in official competitions, with 538 penalty minutes. He was a three-time All-Star ‘A’ team member in 1946-47, 1948-49 and 1949-50, as well as receiving four ‘B’ team nominations.
Among the other highlights of his career were beating Canada and the USA as a member of a league all-star side billed as ‘England’ to win the Churchill Cup, and leading the Racers to victory in 1955 over the previously unbeaten Penticton Vees, the team that won the World Championships as ‘Canada’ that year.
His outstanding memory was being part of the Harringay squad that was the first western team to visit Moscow in 1955. The game was played outdoors at one end of Moscow Dynamos’ football stadium and, he recalled, frost-bite set in before the national anthems were over.
He first came to England with the Canadian Army during the war with his buddy, Wyn Cook. Stationed in Hampshire, both men married English girls before returning across the Atlantic and spending the first peace-time season with Washington Lions of the Eastern Hockey League, a team owned and run by the legendary Eddie Shore.
Early in his career he wore spectacles, but Brighton Tigers’ crafty skipper Bobby Lee knocked them off one night and ‘accidentally’ skated over them. After that, Bill wore contact lenses.
Off the ice, he was a quiet and thoughtful man who played the piano and loved golf, which he was good enough to play professionally. His regular golf partner was his fellow Hall of Famer Marsh Key, the Scots-born centreman with Dundee and Harringay.
As a player he was employed by the stadium’s owners, the Greyhound Racing Association, and when he retired they appointed him to an executive post. He was assistant manager of White City Stadium in west London and later general manager of the Powderhall Stadium in Edinburgh.
William John Glennie was born on 24 March 1924 in Portage-la-Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. He died in Longniddry, East Lothian, Scotland on 11 March 2005. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1951.