Mike Hurlbut was a collegiate hockey star with St. Lawrence of the ECAC from 1985 to 1989. An All-American in his final season, the New York Rangers drafted Hurlbut. He stepped into the minor leagues and made an immediate impact.
In 1992-93 Hurlbut finally got his chance to play in the NHL. The Rangers spotted him in 23 games where he scored 1 goal and 9 points. He also posted a respectable plus 4 on a team that was only a year away from winning the Stanley Cup.
Hurlbut never had a chance to play on the Rangers championship team. He badly injured his knee when accidentally colliding with teammate Darren Turcotte in practice.
"I had an opportunity with the Rangers, and I really took advantage of it," Hurlbut said. "If you look at the numbers I had and the amount of playing time I was getting, that was my big opportunity. I got hurt and by the time I was ready to go again, the season was pretty much over. I had just begun to establish myself. It's pretty tough to jump right back in at the NHL level."
He was traded to the Quebec Nordiques to begin the 1993-94 season, although Hurlbut would only play in one game with the Nords.
The Buffalo Sabres signed the veteran minor league defenseman from Massena, New York, in 1997. They were looking for a veteran presence on their minor league blueline. Hurlbut fit the bill, steadying and teaching younger prospects.
The Sabres rewarded Hurlbut with a call up for 5 NHL games. He remained with the franchise until 2003 when he retired as an active player.
Hurlbut returned to his alma mater and began coaching at St. Lawrence.