Scott Greenham Still in Hot Pursuit of his Dream

Author: Connor Gilson, for PHPA.com
Date: Jan 13, 2017

As Scott Greenham approaches his 30th birthday next April, he is realizing that the dream of one day playing in the National Hockey League may be running out of time.  That being said, he knows he has had a great amateur and professional career that spans many teams and even better teammates. Greenham has accumulated records, and has also been afforded the opportunity to play within the NHL franchise of his hometown. Although his playing days are nearing an end, he has already begun to plan his post-hockey career as a firefighter, a career choice which many liken as an extension of being a professional hockey player.

Greenham grew up a hockey fan in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario and was always drawn to the goaltender position.  With no hometown NHL team at the time, he was a devoted Toronto Maple Leafs fan, especially of their 1990’s goaltending sensation, Felix Potvin. “I loved Felix the Cat, I was a big fan of his.”  But he began to shift his allegiance once the Senators began play in 1992-93. “My dad and my grandpa took me out to games, so I got to see them, got Sens jerseys, and I slowly transitioned into a Sens fan.”  Ironically, Greenham would eventually play within the Senators organization for their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton.

As a teenager, Greenham spent his playing days in both the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) and the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). He finished his junior career with the Oakville Blades, posting an outstanding 27-3-3 record in 35 games played. Following that season, Greenham decided to take his talents to the NCAA, accepting an offer to the University of Alaska. The school, a unique offering for NCAA hockey, is what made the whole experience so enjoyable for him. Interesting activities such as ocean salmon fishing and moose hunting has Greenham believing “I wouldn’t trade that in for anything.  My time at Alaska made me who I was.” 

The on-ice side of his experience there was also enjoyable.  Greenham went on to have a stellar college career, establishing school records in the process. When he left the university, he was the school’s all-time leader in save percentage, goals against average, shutouts, and wins.

An aspect that helped him become a solid starter for the university was having now Calgary Flames goaltender, Chad Johnson, as the senior goalie during his first year. The two were roommates throughout that year and quickly bonded. Greenham benefitted from watching Johnson during that entire season.  “It was nice to see how a senior approaches games.  I think I played five games that year and he dominated the rest.”  After Johnson left, Greenham took the ropes, having learned from his mentor, and went on to a record setting college career. The two have kept in touch ever since.

Upon graduating and seeking a career at the professional level, Greenham spent some time with the Minnesota Wild.  Although he went undrafted to the NHL, he signed a Pro Tryout Agreement with the Wild and participated in workouts with the team and spent two games in the press box. When Wild goaltender Josh Harding got hurt, Greenham received the call he had been waiting for.  “I got the call saying I was going to be a backup in the NHL to Matt Hackett.”  Unfortunately for Greenham, Harding was able to dress for the game and Greenham ended up spending another night in the press box.

This was all part of a grueling 2011-12 season.  Not only was it his senior year at Alaska, following his time with Minnesota, he would be assigned to Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in Houston.  He then joined the Bakersfield Condors who were part of the ECHL at the time, and soon thereafter was called up to the Hershey Bears for the final week of the regular season and first round of playoffs. “A bit of a whirlwind for my first few pro games.  It was interesting, but a lot of fun.”

After that hectic season of travelling and another stint with Bakersfield, Greenham became a part of the Binghamton Senators.  He split time with them and their ECHL affiliate the Elmira Jackals for two seasons, getting his first AHL win during that time, which was a big relief for the goaltender. “I always felt good in the games that I played in the AHL, always came out with good stats, but I just couldn’t get the win for some reason.” 

This led into the 2014-15 season, a breakout year for Greenham with the organization. Greenham played in 29 games and posted a .916 save percentage along with 15 wins. That season provided a motivational boost for Greenham. He proved to himself that he “could spend a whole year in the AHL and handle the pressure of playing that many games.”

During that season, Greenham split time with Andrew Hammond. Hammond would go on to be one of the biggest stories in the NHL that year as he propelled the Ottawa Senators to the playoffs with his remarkable 20-1-2 record.  Witnessing a goalie only a year younger than himself finally get his big break in the NHL provided some additional motivation for Greenham. “It was nice seeing him do that and go on to have the career that he’s having and sustain some time in the NHL.”

But Greenham is not letting that amplify his aspirations.  He understands that the chances of playing in the NHL are almost gone but he uses examples such as Hammond as inspiration to continue to become a better and stronger goalie. “For me, I’d like to build, and at least sustain in the AHL if I can. I’ve been kind of up and down my whole career between the AHL and ECHL and would like to stick up there.”

Greenham has been able to keep that plan alive by continuously signing one-year deals with the Binghamton Senators.  This off-season he signed his fourth one-year deal. “Obviously they see something they like in me, which is always nice and comforting.” Through the years, Greenham has been able to develop a strong relationship with Binghamton General Manager, Randy Lee, along with other personnel within the Senators organization. But the inconsistency and uncertainty year to year has been tough on the goaltender. The idea of not really knowing what will happen once the season is over is tough to endure. On top of that, the travelling can take it’s toll on anyone. This season, Greenham has split time between Binghamton and Wichita of the ECHL.

With those aspects in mind, along with his family, Greenham has begun to plan his post hockey career. As a Player Representative for the Professional Hockey Players’ Association (PHPA), Greenham has been able to see first hand how the Association helps him and his fellow players. “I feel like a lot of players, especially the younger guys, don’t know what the PHPA does for us.  I like to make sure all the guys on the team know what’s available to them.”  What’s even more impressive is that Greenham has consistently continued to assist his Binghamton teammates with off-ice matters even if he is assigned to an ECHL team at the time. 

But what caught Greenham’s eye was the PHPA’s Career Enhancement Program (CEP) which assists players with their transition to a post-hockey career.  He was specifically interested in the renown firefighting program (Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute) offered to players through the CEP.  Both he and his wife have deemed it a great opportunity and Greenham has already enrolled in the next session which consists of an online component followed by practical training at the FESTI facility in Toronto during the off-season.

Greenham is grateful for the opportunities that the PHPA provides for him and his teammates and knows that this program can smooth his transition to his new career when the time comes.

For now, his focus is on helping bring a Championship to the Ottawa Senators organization, whether it is at the ECHL, AHL, or NHL level. 

 

Follow the author Connor Gilson on twitter @cgilson_88 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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