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Rod Gilbert
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
175 lb (80 kg)
Teams New York Rangers
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born July 1, 1941,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died August 19, 2021 (aged 80),
New York City, New York, U.S.
Pro Career 1960 – 1978
Hall of Fame, 1982

Rodrigue Gabriel Gilbert (July 1, 1941 – August 19, 2021) is a retired Canadian professional forward who played for the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League. He played right wing on the GAG (goal-a-game) line that also featured 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. Rod currently works for the New York Rangers organization.

Early life

Gilbert was born in Montreal on July 1, 1941.[1] He grew up a fan of the Montreal Canadiens.[2] He played three seasons for the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1957 to 1960.[3] In his final year with the team, 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.[4][5] Corrective surgery went awry and led to hemorrhaging in his leg, and doctors feared amputation would be necessary, but Gilbert recovered.[6]

Playing career

During the 1959–60 OHA season, he slipped on some garbage strewn onto the ice and fell back into the boards. He broke the fifth vertebra in his back and doctors were worried they might have to amputate his legs when blood clots ensued. Gilbert started his career with the Rangers after finishing his junior career with the Guelph Royals during the 1960–61 season.

It did not take long for Gilbert to become popular with the Garden faithful, and he did not disappoint as 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. He lost half a season, but he bounced back with a strong season in 1966–1967. On February 24, 1968, he established himself as a bona fide NHL star as he scored four goals in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. It was stardom from there. The Ratelle-Hadfield-Gilbert line, called the GAG (Goal-A-Game) line, would terrorize enemy goaltenders for years. He was with Team Canada when they took on the Soviets in the 1972 Summit Series. He won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1976 for his perseverance regarding 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. He retired after 19 seasons, having never led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup. His number 7 was retired by the Rangers on October 14, 1979.

Post-playing career

After retiring from professional hockey, Gilbert opened his own restaurant 'Gilbert's' on Third Avenue near 75th street in Manhattan.[7] He subsequently worked for Fundamental Brokers on Wall Street, assiting the company in opening a branch in his hometown of Montreal. He went back to the Rangers organization in August 1989. There, he acted as director of special projects and community relations representative, as well as president of its alumni association.[7] From 2017 onwards, Gilbert made upwards of 30 appearances a year on behalf of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, an outreach program that works with children in the community.[2]

Personal life

Gilbert married Judith Christy in 1991, in a ceremony conducted by New York mayor David Dinkins.[8] Together, they had four children: Chantal, Justin, Holly, and Brooke.[9] Gilbert was 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.[10]

Gilbert died on August 22, 2021, at the age of 80.[9][11]


  • 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 in NHL Hall of Fame 1982


  • New York Rangers team record for career goals (406)
  • New York Rangers team record for career points (1021)
  • Shares New York Rangers team record for assists in one game (5 three times)

Career Statistics

  Regular season Playoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPG A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1960–61 New York RangersNHL10112-----
1961–62 New York RangersNHL1000042354
1962–63 New York RangersNHL7011203120-----
1963–64 New York RangersNHL7024406462-----
1964–65 New York RangersNHL7025366152-----
1965–66 New York RangersNHL3410152520-----
1966–67 New York RangersNHL642818461242246
1967–68 New York RangersNHL732948771265054
1968–69 New York RangersNHL662849772241012
1969–70 New York RangersNHL721637532264590
1970–71 New York RangersNHL78303161651346108
1971–72 New York RangersNHL734354976416781511
1972–73 New York RangersNHL7625598425105162
1973–74 New York RangersNHL7536417720133584
1974–75 New York RangersNHL763661972231342
1975–76 New York RangersNHL7036508632-----
1976–77 New York RangersNHL7727487550-----
1977–78 New York RangersNHL192796-----
18 Seasons Career NHL 1065 406 615 1021 508 79 34 33 67 43

International Play

  • Member of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.
  • Member of Team Canada in the 1977 World Championships

International Statistics

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
1972 Canada SS 6 1 3 4 9
1977 Canada WC 9 2 2 4 12

See Also

External Links

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Rod Gilbert. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named HR player
  2. 2.0 2.1 One Team, 406 Goals, a Million Stories: Mr. Ranger Is Still Making Fans. The New York Times (2 April 2017).
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named HockeyDB
  4. Tarzan the clown turns 85 | (en-CA). Guelph Mercury (2 April 2011).
  5. Rod Gilbert | The Hockey News (en-CA). The Hockey News (25 September 2011).
  6. (2015) New York Rangers: Greatest Moments and Players (in en). Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 37. ISBN 9781613218259. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kimelman, Adam. "Gilbert's long and winding path back to Rangers", National Hockey League, February 20, 2009. Retrieved on August 23, 2021. Archived from the original on August 23, 2021. 
  8. Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers right wing January 30, 1967. Sports Illustrated (20 April 1998).
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Rod Gilbert, Hockey Hall of Famer Known as Mr. Ranger, Dies at 80", August 22, 2021. 
  10. Andy Warhol (1928-1987) , The Complete Athletes Series (en).
  11. "Rod Gilbert, Hall of Famer for New York Rangers, dies at 80", August 23, 2021.