Former Michigan State defenseman Brian Glennie dies at age 73

The Detroit News
Maple Leafs defensman Brian Glennie, second from right, helps out teammate Jimmy Jones, right, against Rangers forwards Phil Esposito, from left, and Don Murdoch during a game at Madison Square Garden in 1978. Glennie died on Friday at age 73.

Former Spartans defenseman Brian Glennie, who spent most of his 10-year NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, died in Ottawa on Friday at age 73.

The Maple Leafs confirmed Glennie's death on Twitter. 

"The Maple Leafs are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Brian Glennie," the team said on Twitter. "Glennie was named one of the 100 Greatest Maple Leafs of all time and played over 500 games on the blue line in Toronto. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time."

Ex-Spartans defenseman Brian Glennie died on Friday at age 73.

Glennie, who was born in Toronto in 1946, played two games at Michigan State during the 1966-67 season. The Spartans, coached by Amo Bessone, finished with a 16-15-1-0 record.

Later that season, Glennie was the captain of the Toronto Marlies' 1967 Memorial Cup team, which also featured former Red Wing Brad Park.

In 572 career NHL regular-season games, Glennie had 14 goals, 100 assists and 621 penalty minutes. In 32 playoff games, he had one assist.

Glennie’s hip-checks stopped many opposing players in mid-stride. Former tough guy John Ferguson called him “an old-style standup hitter.”

In November of 1975, Glennie was involved in an on-ice incident which led to Red Wings forward Don Maloney being charged with assault causing bodily harm.

After Glennie hit Brian Hextall during Detroit's 7-3 loss at Maple Leaf Gardens, Maloney punched the Maple Leafs' defenseman from behind, continued to hit Glennie when he fell to the ice and then lifted Glennie and repeatedly dropped him to the ice.

Glennie was taken to the hospital with a concussion. Maloney, who was handed a five-minute major penalty and an automatic $100 fine, was eventually acquitted in a trial in which deliberations lasted more than eight hours.

Maloney died in 2018 at the age of 68.

Glennie, who was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, helped Canada win a bronze medal at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France.

He was also a member of the Canadian team at the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union but didn't play in any of the eight games.

Glennie did play in the exhibition games against Sweden and Czechoslovakia, which included Hall of Fame forward Vaclav Nedomansky of the Red Wings.

A back injury forced Glennie to retire from hockey. Later in life, he moved to Ottawa to be closer to his grandchildren.

There was no immediate word on cause of death although he had been in ill health. Funeral arrangements were pending.