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|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|
Rodrigue Gabriel Gilbert (born July 1, 1941) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey forward who played for the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League (NHL). 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. Gilbert currently works for the New York Rangers Organization.
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 onto the ice and fell back into the boards, breaking a vertebra in his back temporarily paralyzing him. Corrective surgery went awry leading to hemorrhaging in his leg, and doctors briefly feared amputation would be necessary, but Gilbert recovered. After finishing his junior career with the Guelph Royals, Gilbert joined the Rangers towards the end of the 1960–61 NHL 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. Gilbert lost half a season, but he bounced back with a strong season in 1966–67, scoring 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 (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, the first number to be retired by the Rangers. 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.
|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||52||—||—||—||—||—|
|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||—||—||—||—||—|
Gilbert married Judith Christy in 1991, in a ceremony conducted by then-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 that featured prominent sports figures from the 1970s. Others appearing include O.J. Simpson, Chris Evert and Pelé.