Rodrigue Gabriel Gilbert (born July 1, 1941) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey forward who played for the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League (NHL). He played right wing on the GAG line (i.e. Goal-a-Game Line) with Vic Hadfield and Jean Ratelle. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982, and was the first player in New York Rangers history to have his number retired. Gilbert currently works for the New York Rangers organization.
|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1982|
July 1, 1941|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||175 lb (79 kg; 12 st 7 lb)|
|Played for||New York Rangers|
Born in Montreal, Gilbert grew up a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. While playing junior hockey for the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters of the OHA in 1960, Gilbert slipped on some garbage strewn on the ice and fell back into the boards, breaking a vertebra in his back and temporarily paralyzing him. Corrective surgery went awry and led to hemorrhaging in his leg, and doctors feared amputation would be necessary, but Gilbert recovered.
After finishing his junior career with the Guelph Royals, Gilbert joined the Rangers near the end of the 1960–61 NHL season. He soon became popular with the Rangers' fans, and he rose in prominence as an NHL star. However, it was not without pain. In 1965–66, his career was nearly derailed when he went through a second spinal fusion operation. This surgery was performed by Dr. Kazuo Yanagisawa. Gilbert was out of action for half a season, but he bounced back in 1966–67 and scored 28 goals. On February 24, 1968, he scored four goals in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. The Ratelle-Hadfield-Gilbert line, called the GAG line, proved formidable for years. He played with Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. He won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1976 for his perseverance over his back troubles.
At the beginning of the 1977–78 NHL season, Gilbert and Rangers' General Manager John Ferguson got into a contract dispute. When Gilbert finally returned to play, he was no longer the Gilbert of old, and retired after 19 seasons, having never won the Stanley Cup. His number 7 was retired by the Rangers on October 14, 1979, the first number to be retired by the team. In 1969 he owned his first restaurant. After his playing career was over, he opened his own restaurant 'Gilbert's' on Third Avenue near 75th street in Manhattan. As of 2017, Gilbert makes upwards of 30 appearances a year on behalf of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, an outreach program that works with children in the community.
Gilbert married Judith Christy in 1991, in a ceremony conducted by New York mayor David Dinkins. Gilbert is one of ten athletes who were featured in American artist Andy Warhol's 1979 Athlete Series of paintings, which featured prominent sports figures from the 1970s. Others in the series include O.J. Simpson, Chris Evert and Pelé.
Awards and honors
- Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team (1967–68)
- Named to the NHL First All-Star Team (1971–72)
- Won Bill Masterton Trophy (1976)
- Won Lester Patrick Trophy (1991)
- Played in NHL All-Star Game (1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1977)
- Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982
- Has his #7 retired at Madison Square Garden, the first Ranger to receive the honor.
- In 2010, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of his humanitarian efforts.
- New York Rangers team record for career goals (406)
- New York Rangers team record for career points (1021)
- New York Rangers team record for games played by a forward (1065)
- Shares New York Rangers team record for assists in one game (5 three times)
|1957–58||Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters||OHA-Jr.||32||14||16||30||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1958–59||Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters||OHA-Jr.||54||27||34||61||40||—||—||—||—||—|
|1959–60||Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters||OHA-Jr.||47||39||52||91||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1960–61||New York Rangers||NHL||1||0||1||1||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|1961–62||New York Rangers||NHL||1||0||0||0||0||4||2||3||5||4|
|1962–63||New York Rangers||NHL||70||11||20||31||20||—||—||—||—||—|
|1963–64||New York Rangers||NHL||70||24||40||64||62||—||—||—||—||—|
|1964–65||New York Rangers||NHL||70||25||36||61||54||—||—||—||—||—|
|1965–66||New York Rangers||NHL||34||10||15||25||20||—||—||—||—||—|
|1966–67||New York Rangers||NHL||64||28||18||46||12||4||2||2||4||6|
|1967–68||New York Rangers||NHL||73||29||48||77||12||6||5||0||5||4|
|1968–69||New York Rangers||NHL||66||28||49||77||22||4||1||0||1||2|
|1969–70||New York Rangers||NHL||72||16||37||53||22||6||4||5||9||0|
|1970–71||New York Rangers||NHL||78||30||31||61||65||13||4||6||10||8|
|1971–72||New York Rangers||NHL||73||43||54||97||64||16||7||8||15||11|
|1972–73||New York Rangers||NHL||76||25||59||84||25||10||5||1||6||2|
|1973–74||New York Rangers||NHL||75||36||41||77||20||13||3||5||8||4|
|1974–75||New York Rangers||NHL||76||36||61||97||22||3||1||3||4||2|
|1975–76||New York Rangers||NHL||70||36||50||86||32||—||—||—||—||—|
|1976–77||New York Rangers||NHL||77||27||48||75||50||—||—||—||—||—|
|1977–78||New York Rangers||NHL||19||2||7||9||6||—||—||—||—||—|
- List of NHL players with 1000 points
- List of NHL players with 1000 games played
- Hockey Hall of Fame
- Kreda, Allan (2 April 2017). "One Team, 406 Goals, a Million Stories: Mr. Ranger Is Still Making Fans". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- "Tarzan the clown turns 85 | GuelphMercury.com". GuelphMercury.com. Guelph Mercury. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Malinowski, Mark (25 September 2011). "Rod Gilbert | The Hockey News". The Hockey News. The Hockey News. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Fischler, Stan (2015). New York Rangers: Greatest Moments and Players. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. p. 37. ISBN 9781613218259. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Kreiser & Friedman. The New York Rangers: Broadway's Longest Running Hit. Sports Publishing LLC, 1996
- "Silverware -- 1975-76 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy Winner -- Gilbert, Rod -- Legends of Hockey". www.hhof.com. Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Price, Bill (13 January 2006). "HADFIELD NUMBERS AMONG MESS FANS". NY Daily News. NY Daily News. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Kennedy, Kostya (20 April 1998). "Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers right wing January 30, 1967". SI.com. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- "Andy Warhol (1928-1987) , The Complete Athletes Series". www.christies.com. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Total Hockey (Second Edition), Editor - Dan Diamond, ISBN 1-892129-85-X
- Hockey Stars of 1969 by Stan Fischler
- Hockey '75 by Hal Bock