Tyler Smutz, left, and Jacob Smutz, show off their autographed pictures and hockey cards from retired New York Ranger and current SLU hockey coach Mike Hurlbut.
LOUISVILLE – Two Louisville boys had their admiration for the New York Rangers and former defenseman Mike Hurlbut rewarded recently.
Tyler and Jacob Smutz, 7 and 8 years old, were in a Stewart’s store Friday when they recognized Hurlbut, former St. Lawrence University hockey All-American, professional hockey player for 15 years, and current associate head coach for the SLU Skating Saints.
“They introduced themselves, told him they played hockey for Louisville and that his old team, the New York Rangers, is their favorite NHL team,” wrote Christina Smutz, the boys’ mother.
She said Hurlbut autographed Tyler’s Otterbox for his iPod and the hat Jacob was wearing, and asked the boys for their address and told them he would send an autographed card in the mail. “He told them to check the mail on Monday,” she said, and mentioned that the encounter was all the boys talked about all weekend.
“As the mailman rolled up the boys ran to the mailbox before he could even pull away!” Smutz said.
“Sure enough there was an envelope with two personalized autographed pictures and two autographed hockey cards for each one. They were sooooooo excited!”, she wrote.
“Our family would like the send a HUGE thank you to Mr. Hurlbut. He was so humble and honestly I think he was more excited than the boys were when they approached him.”
“He really did make their day, twice! What a great guy and true to his word!”
Hurlbut was chosen as a first-team All American and a first team All ECAC selection for the Saints in 1989. He was on the two winningest teams in Saint hockey history in 1988 and 1989. He spent 14 years in the International and American hockey leagues, and played 23 games with the New York Rangers in 1992-93.
Mike and his wife Julie have a son, Jacob and a daughter, Emily.