Josh Curtis at first look might not have had the best stats, may not have had the flashiest moves, nor had the biggest body on the Prince George Cougars, but he did have one heck of a role in the dressing room.
On September 21st 2018, Curtis was named the Cougars 24th captain in franchise history, following in the footsteps of former teammate Sam Ruopp who wore the ‘C’ when the Cougars won their first BC Division banner in the 2016-17 season.
That division championship being clinched inside the CN Centre holds a special place in “Curty”‘s favourite moments in his 222 games in the WHL, all with the Cougars.
“It was unbelievable seeing the rink packed, its a pretty intimidating place to play when there’s a lot of people in here (the CN Centre) and the fans are loud.”
Curtis was not a high draft pick in the bantam draft by the Cougars, he was not chosen until the eighth round, 156th overall in 2013.
It’s important to note the amount of players that are drafted that late in the bantam draft that even play in a WHL Pre-Season game is extremely low. There’s no doubt Curtis was an underdog from the start, something he prides himself on.
Arguably Curtis’ best quality is being a leader, something he did through and through even though fans sometimes can’t see it on the ice.
“I’ve learned lots of life lessons wearing the letter, I feel like I’ve grown as a person and its a true honour to be able to wear it for such a great organization in my last year”
Being from Winnipeg, Manitoba the cold weather wasn’t near as big of an adjustment for the ’98 born than the seemingly never ending bus rides needed to commute to every away game of the season.
“The bus is a huge part, and all the card games, it’s something that I’ve gotten used to over the years but something I’ll miss for the most part.”
He did shed a brighter side to the bus though as the Cougars might in turn have the most “bonding time” of any particular team in the league.
“There’s nothing better than being with the guys, all the laughs and the great moments that are had, there’s too many to remember, maybe one day I’ll look back and write them down so I can have a couple chuckles a couple years down the road”
Something surely every hockey player that has ever played for the Northernmost franchise in the league will never forget.
Curtis started his career in a bit of a different way, as the Cougars were on the road when he joined the team a moment he can remember fondly.
“I don’t know where I’d be today if I didn’t get that call, I remember exactly where I was because my parents told me to come home because they had to talk to me”
Curtis didn’t personally get the call, instead his parents answered the telephone call from former Cougars General Manager Todd Harkins who wanted Curtis to join the team.
“I was in the living room, I knew I wouldn’t be in trouble, I figured it was the phone call (from Harkins), and knew I was going for sure”
The Winnipeg-native played his first career WHL game shortly after on November 27th, 2015 something he says he’ll never forget.
He may have started on the prairies but he finished his career in Prince George on March 16th, 2019, at a place that fast become his winter home.
Counting in at 5’11 inches, and weighing in at 173 pounds Curtis was far from being a bruiser on the ice, although he never shied away from being physical.
Unlike others, he always seemed to know his role, getting to the dirty areas to fish out the puck and be at the net to bang home rebounds.
When asked about why the number 10, Curtis pointed to the fact that he was 10 growing up.
He says all the way through his minor hockey years he wore it and being a youngster joining a team mid-season the number was available so he took it.
Little did Josh know he would be the last Prince George Cougar to wear the number as the team plans to not hand out the jersey in honour of the late Brock Hirsche who passed away last April from cancer.
“I remember I met him in Lethbridge when we were there.. he’s just an amazing guy and its definitely deserved, and well earned for nobody to wear his number”
Just like Curtis, Hirsche wore the number proudly with a big “C” embroidered on the front. Something nobody will be able to do again.
Curtis was always one of the team’s scholastic leaders, and choosing which CIS school he plans to attend is just the next great thing to come Curty’s way.
Curtis saying “I will play university hockey, it’s just a matter of which school”
Curtis had many achievements with the team, one of those forever being the teams 2016 Teddy Bear Goal Scorer, lighting the lamp for one of the biggest goals of the season.
He said although the ending is bittersweet, next August not coming to Prince George will be weird.
“When you go up to do the post game show, there’s always the same people there, and there’s just so many great supporters of this team and I can’t thank them enough”