Curtis Hamilton’s pro career isn’t going well. He’s suffered through some injuries and when healthy plays a depth role for the Barons. This is not the route expected for a 2nd rd pick, and at this point one suspects there are a few people in the organization that have moved on from him. If you don’t make progress, you get passed–that’s true in all walks of life (if you think it’s tough to go through, try having kids and watching them try and fail–or worse, try and tread water).

Curtis Hamilton was taken in the 2nd round of the 2010 NHL entry draft. Since then, he has been passed by two forwards (Kristian Pelss #181 overall 2010 (20, 1-7-8); Ryan Martindale #61 overall 2010 (41, 6-8-14) from that draft, and RNH and Nail Yakupov from the following drafts. The club also has men like Travis Ewanyk and Kale Kessy on the way this summer; Mitchell Moroz, Jujhar Khaira and Daniil Zharkov are a year away.

Pro hockey is a tough, tough business. I’d give Hamilton less than a 10% chance of recovering his Oiler career from here.

Hamilton’s been injured for much of his hockey career and that’s probably taken a toll. I imagine the Oilers have already chalked up the Hamilton draft as a sunk cost, but if he were my son I’d tell him this: you play for as long as the game is fun for you, as long as the dream remains for you.

Whatever day he retires and decides to do something else, he’s looking at most of a lifetime as a former pro hockey player. He has all the time in the world to pursue off ice interests, if hockey is his passion then he should keep on running up that hill, whether it be OKC, Minsk, Cologne or Edmonton.

I hope he makes it.

Jonathan Willis has more on this story here.

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14 Responses to "RUNNING UP THAT HILL"

  1. Melman says:

    (if you think it’s tough to go through, try having kids and watching them try and fail–or worse, try and tread water)….or worst of all watching your kid not try – even when they’re little it’s like eating glass, slowly.

    Too bad about Hamilton. Even though he and Pitlick have both struggled mightily, it seems to me like Pitlick is worth maintaining patience on for a bit longer, but that Hamilton just never gave any glimpses that he could gain traction.

  2. RexLibris says:

    A good perspective, LT.

    Puts a human element into the prospect evaluation. I think we can safely close the book on Hamilton as an NHL prospect, but I know that, like you, I’d cheer for the guy just for the sake of realizing a dream.

    I hope he gets a shot at the big leagues some day, although I qualify that by saying that I also hope the Oilers are never in dire straits to have to reach that far down the depth chart as they did with Sebastian Bisaillon. Once a generation is enough for that kind of “feel-good story”.

    BTW, I was in and out of the car this morning, but caught some good pieces of the show with John Short today. Great hearing him again, and I agree with his take on the CFL. It doesn’t have to be better or worse and the old arguments about a middler-tier NCAA team beating even the best CFL teams is irrelevant in my view. Its the game they play and the men who play it that are the story, and one that I have found compelling since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

    Thanks for having him on today.

  3. Gerta Rauss says:

    Nice choice of music-one of my favourite albums. Music today is purchased 3 minutes at a time via your iTunes account.This is one album I listen to from start to finish.

    I’m pulling for Hamilton/Pitlick(can we just save time and call them Hitlick or Pamilton?) They’ll both get ice time in the 3rd year of their ELC, I hope one of them emerges as a player worth keeping.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Rex: Thanks. I was thrilled to have John Short on the show today. He’s amazing, such a great deal of knowledge and yet his greatest skill is listening. Felt guilty for taking money to do today’s show, it was a complete vacation.

  5. supernova says:

    It will be interesting to see the make-up for OKC next season.

    I would imagine they might be close to the youngest team In the A next year.
    At this point I even wonder if green is back, playoffs aside I think they are fine without him.

    If I am the oiler organization I let ewanyk and Kessy overripe,

    I am a huge fan of drafting those guys as I have seen them play a lot but the more they can play key roles in junior and the ECHL the better the shot of becoming NHL regulars.

  6. supernova says:



    I think it is your appreciation for sports and people that make your blog and now your show the best Edmonton based information on sports out there.

    I am a huge cheerleader for you and I am hoping you don’t ever lose that feeling you have today, as well as your love for what you talk and write about. Especially now that it is changing from a hobby for love to a hobby that you are paid for.

    Love your stuff, and how you do it, even if I don’t always agree.

    One of your many advocates

  7. Smarmy says:

    That Mike Green looks like the old Mike Green.

    11 goals in his last 18.

  8. gd says:


    Loved hearing John Short today. I remember hearing his first show in the eighties and he helped me become a much more informed sports fan. It’s amazing how ahead of its time that show was, in terms of in depth analysis.

    I would love to see the transcripts of some of his shows in 1980 & 1981, because I think some of the criticism of the Messier, Coffey and management would sound pretty familar.

  9. FastOil says:

    They took a chance on Hamilton to begin with because of his injuries IIRC. Weak bones, too much KD as a kid.

    It didn’t work out. Maybe it’s me, but drafting privileged sons may not be the best idea. The fact that someone in your family played in the NHL or was a mucky muck in hockey probably means for the most part you won’t be as good. Maybe that is something to look at for those with time.

    Players with more at stake have more to loose. It’s at the heart of the fight in the dog. Perhaps a CCR song fits in somewhere?

  10. TheOtherJohn says:

    Listening to Podcast of John Short. Great program Al!! Thoroughly enjoyed discussion. Blast from the past

  11. supernova says:


    I know what you are saying and have thought that several times myself.

    At the end of the day though hockey is really a very small community when you compare it to other sports and to the business community.

    I am not sure hamilton’s dad qualifies as a big enough player in the scheme of things as hockey is really a game for the wealthy, and many more players have parents that exceed his dads wealth and clout.

    It could be a bit of that, but seems more likely he is really a injury riddled player that was maybe a bigger kid and was really good until he had to play against bigger and stronger players, that had more desire.

    I think that happens to many junior players, guys that want it more and guys that physically mature later catch up and pass some of these guys. I really hope he can overcome this and still makes It but at this point it looks like Kessy and Ewanyk are about to pass him, so it is only going to get harder.

  12. RickDeckard says:


    Gagner is much better than his dad was at his age. Sergei Kostitsyn was taken on a flyer simply because the Habs already had his brother and he has now far outproduced his draft position. Brett freaking Hull is third all time in goals. Family connections are fine as long as they don’t over power the other factors involved in scouting.

    People were quick to dismiss Dillon Simpson based on it being a “favor” but he is turning in good results and was still the third youngest player on his team, despite being a junior. I could see Simpson arriving a la Jeff Petry as soon as two years from now. If everything is going right he’ll be exactly the type of value contract the Oilers need.

  13. elgruntus says:

    Maybe it’s me, but drafting privileged sons may not be the best idea. The fact that someone in your family played in the NHL or was a mucky muck in hockey probably means for the most part you won’t be as good. Maybe that is something to look at for those with time.

    Forgive my ignorance, but who in Hamilton’s family played in the NHL?

  14. art vandelay says:

    Nobody commented on that sublime music video ?

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