Curtis McElhinney was born May 23, 1983 in London, Ontario. The sixth round, 176th overall selection of the Calgary Flames in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, McElhinney is a graduate of Colorado College.
A highly skilled goaltender, McElhinney played 90 collegiate games at Colorado College and posted a respectable 62-15-8 during his tenure. After his senior year at the college, he was named the WCHA Goalie of the Year and was named to the WCHA First All-Star Team as well as the NCAA West First All-American Team. The London, Ontario native struggled to win games in his rookie season as a professional netminder in Omaha, however returned to the club in 2006-07 to record 35 wins, which included seven shutouts, and lead the club into the AHL playoffs.
In 2007-08, McElhinney made his first NHL start on November 25th, 2007 with the Flames and went on to spend the majority of his time with the club's AHL affiliate.
On March 3, 2010, the NHL trade deadline, McElhinney was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for fellow goaltender Vesa Toskala.
During the 2010-11 season McElhinney appeared in 21 games for the Ducks, but on February 24, 2011, the goaltender found himself on the move again. This time he was sent to Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Dan Ellis.
McElhinney barely had time to unpack in Florida however before he was on the move again. Just four days after being acquired by the Lightning, he was claimed off waivers by the Ottawa Senators.
On July 4, 2011,McElhinney signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Phoenix Coyotes.
On February 22, 2012 McElinney was traded along with a draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for for Antoine Vermette.