In announcing his retirement Tuesday, Curtis Joseph took time to specifically thank David McNab, the top assistant to Ducks general manager Bob Murray. Why?
David McNab was a big believer in the power of a baseball cap. He would send them to prospects whom he felt needed encouragement and, as a scout with the Hartford Whalers, he’d often take the extra step of writing personal letters as he did with one unheralded goaltender a little more than 20 years ago.
Curtis Joseph was playing amateur hockey in Saskatchewan at the time, and can remember running through the cold to the mailbox. In an era before the Internet, the promise of a free National Hockey League media guide was a big deal and the encouragement meant even more.
“In this business, sometimes there are really good players who maybe need to be reminded they’re really good players – the guys who aren’t drafted and things like that,” said McNab, now senior vice-president of hockey operations with the Anaheim Ducks. “Sometimes, it’s not the worst thing in the world to tell somebody, ‘Geez, you really are good, and you really do have a great chance to play in the NHL.”‘