Tough guy Curt Brackenbury played most of his second year of pro hockey in the North American Hockey League with the John Brophy coached Long Island Cougars. It served as a bit of transformation in his game after providing more of an offensive role in 1972-73 with the Jersey Devils of the EHL. His penalty minutes ballooned from just 66 with the Devils in 1972-73 to the fifth highest in the NAHL in 1973-74.
Curt Brackenbury – NAHL
Brackenbury played in the NAHL for just the 1973-74 season, the first in the league’s four year history. With the Long Island Cougars, Curt played 45 regular season games, scoring eight goals and assisting on 20 for 28 points while sitting 194 minutes in the penalty box. His 194 PIM placed him fifth in the NAHL, 91 behind fourth place Bill Goldthorpe of the Syracuse Blazers and a whopping 177 behind the league leader, Nick Fotiu of the Cape Cod Cubs.
Over 17 Lockhart Cup playoff games, Brackenbury added five goals and an assist while spending nine minutes short of an hour in the sin bin. The Cougars reached the Lockhart Cup finals before being swept by Goldthorpe and the Syracuse Blazers.
The 1973-74 season was not exclusive to the NAHL for Curt. He played in 13 games with the Des Moines Capitols in the IHL, along with four games for the Chicago Cougars in the World Hockey Association.
Curt Brackenbury – Pro Hockey
Brackenbury played pro hockey from 1972-73 to 1982-83 in the EHL, IHL, NAHL, WHA, SHL, NHL and CHL. As mentioned, his pro career started with a different role than what the rest of his career would quickly evolve into. With the Jersey Devils, he scored 17 goals and assisted on 27 for 44 points over 68 games. He sat just 66 minutes in the box.
After his year with the Long Island Cougars, Curt followed John Brophy to the SHL and the Hampton Gulls for the 1974-75 season. Soon after, he was a regular in the WHA. Between 1973-74 and 1978-79, Brackenbury played 265 regular season games in the World Hockey Association with the Cougars, Minnesota Fighting Saints and Quebec Nordiques. He scored 41 and totalled 91 points while accumulating 753 PIM.
In the Avco World Trophy playoffs, Curt played an impressive 48 games, adding 14 points and 161 PIM. In 1976-77, he helped the Quebec Nordiques to the finals against the Winnipeg Jets. Quebec won the championship with the series going the full seven games.
In 1975-76, Curt’s year was split between the financially crippled Minnesota Fighting Saints and the Nordiques. His combined 365 PIM over 74 regular season games led the WHA.
When the WHA ceased after the 1978-79 season, Brackenbury played his first games in the National Hockey League with Quebec. Between 1979-80 and 1982-83, Curt played in 141 NHL regular season games with the Nordiques, Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues. He appeared in just two Stanley Cup playoff games, both with the Oilers.
In Curt’s final year of pro hockey, he appeared in just six games with the Blues. Brackenbury finished up the 1982-83 season in the Central Hockey League with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles, playing in 44 games.