Rod Gilbert, the Hall of Fame right wing who starred for the New York Rangers and helped Canada win the 1972 Summit Series, had died. He was 80.
"While his on-ice achievements rightly made him a Hall of Famer, it was his love for the Rangers and the people of New York that endeared him to generations of fans and forever earned him the title, 'Mr. Ranger.'"
From Montreal, Gilbert spent his entire 18-year NHL career with the Rangers — a career that was nearly derailed in 1960 when he broke a vertebra in his back after slipping on garbage on the ice while playing for Guelph in the junior Ontario Hockey Association.
Gilbert recovered and ended up with 406 goals and 615 assists in 1,065 regular-season games and 34 goals and 33 assists in 79 playoff games. He holds Rangers records for goals and points. In 1972, he had a goal and three assists in six games for Canada in its historic eight-game victory of the Soviet Union in the Summit Series.
That series and in particular the last game is forever etched in my head. The whole school was actually gathered in the gym to watch the final game against Russia. In Canada it was as huge as the moon landing.