Clark Gillies

Clark "Jethro" Gillies (born April 7, 1954) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. He provided both physical presence and offensive punch for the National Hockey League's New York Islanders during their four-year run as Stanley Cup champions. In a career that spanned 958 games, Gillies notched 319 goals, 378 assists, and 1023 penalty minutes. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

Clark Gillies
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2002
Born (1954-04-07) April 7, 1954
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for New York Islanders
Buffalo Sabres
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 4th overall, 1974
New York Islanders
WHA Draft 37th overall, 1974
Edmonton Oilers
Playing career 19741988

Playing career

Gillies earned his tough reputation in the Canadian junior leagues, picking up 570 penalty minutes in 201 games with the Regina Pats. In 1974, Gillies and the Pats won the Memorial Cup. Later that year, the Islanders made him their first-round selection in the NHL draft, taking him fourth overall. Gillies was also selected by the World Hockey Association's Edmonton Oilers in the WHA draft, but Gillies signed with the Islanders, making the team right out of training camp. It was during his rookie season of 1974–75, in the playoffs, that Gillies established himself as one of the toughest players in the National Hockey League (NHL), pummeling Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Dave Schultz.[1]

Gillies scored over 30 goals for four straight seasons as part of the "Trio Grande", the Islanders' top forward line with Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier, and was named to the NHL's All-Star Team twice.

In the latter half of the 1976-77 NHL season, Gillies was named team captain; however, in spite of Gillies' articulate speaking manner and amiable nature, he never felt completely comfortable as captain and it affected his play adversely in big games. Gillies captained the Islanders through two disappointing seasons, in part because the Islanders appeared to lack team toughness. During the pre-season of 1979–80 Gillies allowed Denis Potvin to take over as captain.

During the 1980 playoffs, Gillies got the best of Terry O'Reilly, one of the Boston Bruins' toughest players, several times, helping to fuel the Islanders' drive to the Stanley Cup. Gillies was used during this series as the Islanders' chief protector and enforcer, and in taking on this role, Gillies allowed his team to battle through a violent series with the Bruins. Gillies, now totally comfortable with his role with the team, prospered individually and collectively, as the Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups during Gillies' tenure.

Gillies was a solid skater, possessed a great shot, passed the puck well, back-checked, and developed an uncommon hockey savvy through the championship years with the Islanders. Gillies never exceeded 100 penalty minutes during any NHL regular season.

Gillies' swan song may have been during the 1983–84 playoffs. After struggling through the regular season, he came alive in the playoffs, leading the Stanley Cup runners-up in scoring for that playoff year.

After scoring only four goals in 55 games in 1985–86, Gillies was left unprotected in the NHL waiver draft, and the Buffalo Sabres picked him up. He wore No. 90 in Buffalo. Gillies retired after playing a season and a half with the Sabres. On December 7, 1996, Gillies' No. 9 was retired by the Islanders. In 2002 Gillies was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Personal life

In 1982 Gillies and three teammates — Bob Nystrom, Wayne Merrick, and Gordie Lane — stripped to their briefs in the February issue of Penthouse magazine for a fashion layout.

Gillies who was honoured by the Islanders on December 13, 2014, remains active in the Long Island community.[1] He is an executive at Hilton Capital Management in Garden City. He plays in 30 to 40 charity softball games per year.[1] He was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame on Long Island in the Hockey Category with the Class of 1998.

Gillies is married to Pam, who is also from Moose Jaw. They live in Greenlawn, New York. He is the father-in-law to his former teammate's son, and former assistant coach of the Toronto Marlies Justin Bourne.

Despite having the same surname, Gillies is not related to former NHL players Colton and Trevor, who coincidentally played for the Islanders.[2]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1971–72 Regina Pats WCHL 68 31 48 79 199 15 5 10 15 49
1972–73 Regina Pats WCHL 68 40 52 92 192 4 0 3 3 34
1973–74 Regina Pats WCHL 65 46 66 112 179 16 9 8 17 32
1973–74 Regina Pats MC 3 1 3 4 19
1974–75 New York Islanders NHL 80 25 22 47 66 17 4 2 6 36
1975–76 New York Islanders NHL 80 34 27 61 96 13 2 4 6 16
1976–77 New York Islanders NHL 70 33 22 55 93 12 4 4 8 15
1977–78 New York Islanders NHL 80 35 50 85 76 7 2 0 2 15
1978–79 New York Islanders NHL 75 35 56 91 68 10 1 2 3 11
1979–80 New York Islanders* NHL 73 19 35 54 49 21 6 10 16 63
1980–81 New York Islanders* NHL 80 33 45 78 99 18 6 9 15 28
1981–82 New York Islanders* NHL 79 38 39 77 75 19 8 6 14 34
1982–83 New York Islanders* NHL 70 21 20 41 76 8 0 2 2 10
1983–84 New York Islanders NHL 76 12 16 28 65 21 12 7 19 19
1984–85 New York Islanders NHL 54 15 17 32 73 10 1 0 1 9
1985–86 New York Islanders NHL 55 4 10 14 55 3 1 0 1 6
1986–87 Buffalo Sabres NHL 61 10 17 27 81
1987–88 Buffalo Sabres NHL 25 5 2 7 51 5 0 1 1 25
NHL totals 958 319 378 697 1023 164 47 47 94 287
  • *Stanley Cup champion

International

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1981 Canada CC 7 2 5 7 8

References

  1. "Loyal to Islanders and LI Too Gillies still a huge presence on adapted home turf" Newsday December 14, 2014
  2. "Colton Gillies". NHL. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
Preceded by
Denis Potvin
New York Islanders first round draft pick
1974
Succeeded by
Pat Price
Preceded by
Ed Westfall
New York Islanders captain
197779
Succeeded by
Denis Potvin
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