Goaltender Carl Wetzel's professional hockey résumé reads like a road map. Wetzel suited up for 16 different clubs in 14 different cities over his fifteen-year career. He also found time to play a season in Austria as well as three separate stints with the United States National team and twice represented his country at the World Championships.
Wetzel's nomadic career began playing Junior hockey in Hamilton but he played a single game as a pro during his final season there. Over the next three years he played for five different clubs before putting his career on hold to fulfill his military obligations.
Two years would pass before he returned to the ice, though he only played six games in his first year back. However, two of those contests were in the National Hockey League. Wetzel made two appearances in goal for the Detroit Red Wings but was victimized four times in just thirty-two minutes of play.
The next season was spent in the minors, then Wetzel joined the National team in 1966 and played in his first World Championships. Despite the fact that the U.S. squad finished fifth in the tournament, Wetzel was named to the tournament All-Star team. A trade to the expansion Minnesota North Stars lured him back to professional hockey in June of 1967.
Wetzel played five games for the North Stars and was able to register his only NHL win while also adding a tie to his career statistics. That season in the minors Wetzel backstopped the Rocheseter Americans to a Calder Cup championship. When he spent all of the 1968-69 campaign back in the minors, Wetzel returned to the National Team for the 1969-70 season. After two years with the Nats and a second World Championship appearance he elected to continue his career in Europe. Wetzel signed on with Kitzbuhel of the Austrian League but after just one year there he was lured back by a contract offer from the upstart World Hockey Association.
Wetzel's final season as a pro was spent back in Minnesota, this time with their WHA franchise, the Fighting Saints. The Saints goaltending duties were split between Jack McCarten and Mike Curran with Wetzel playing just a single game. Though he was tagged with a loss in his final start, Wetzel played well giving up just three goals.