He played with the Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Scouts, and Minnesota North Stars after starring for the Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team. He was also a member of the United States national team at the 1972 Winter Olympics as well as the 1971 and 1977 World Ice Hockey Championships.
McElmury was not drafted by any NHL club and signed as a free agent with the Minnesota North Stars right after the 1972 Olympics. He spent the next two seasons in the Stars' organization but only played in 7 games for the NHL team.
In 1974 he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings but ended up signing as a free agent with the expansion Kansas City Scouts. McElmury played four seasons with the Scouts and their successors the Colorado Rockies, playing in 169 games for the NHL team. He retired in 1978.
In his NHL career, McElmury played in 180 games, scoring 14 goals and 47 assists.