Rod Gilbert, Rangers legend and Hall of Famer, passes away
Gilbert’s death was announced by the team Sunday evening.
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Rod Gilbert – one of the greatest Rangers to ever play for our organization and one of the greatest ambassadors the game of hockey has ever had," Rangers owner James Dolan said in a statement.
"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.' Our thoughts are with Rod’s wife, Judy, and the entire Gilbert family during this difficult time. They will always be a part of the Rangers family."
"Everyone in the Rangers organization mourns the loss of a true New York icon," Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury added. "Rod’s remarkable talent and zest for life personified this city and endeared him to hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike. Growing up a young Rangers fan, one of the first names I ever heard about was Rod Gilbert – he was synonymous with Rangers hockey. It was an incredible privilege to get to know Rod.
He continued: "His passion and dedication to the Rangers will forever be a source of inspiration for me."
One of the game's all-time greats
Born July 1, 1941 in Montreal, Gilbert played with the Rangers from 1960 to 1978. Across parts of 18 seasons, Gilbert tallied 406 goals and 615 assists as a winger, for a total of 1,021 points in 1,065 games. Gilbert added 34 goals and 33 assists in 79 playoff appearances, including two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals.
At the time of Gilbert’s retirement, he had set or matched 20 team scoring records and was second only to Gordie Howe in points by a right winger in NHL history. He also appeared in eight NHL All-Star Games. In 1976, Gilbert received the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."
His number 7 jersey became the first number ever to be retired by the Rangers and was raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters in 1979. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.
Following his career, Gilbert became involved with a number of charitable organizations, including the Garden of Dreams Foundation the Ronald McDonald House.
Gilbert is survived by his wife, Judy, his siblings, Jean Marie, André, and Pauline (sister-in-law), his children, Chantal, Justin, Holly, and Brooke, and his grandchildren, Arielle, Owen, Kaya, Jordyn, Lila, Logan, and Damon.
Cover photo: IMAGO / Icon SMI