It was a sad day in the hockey and New York sports world yesterday. Legendary New York Ranger, Rod Gilbert passed away at the age of 80. Gilbert is the leading scorer in the history of the Rangers and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Rod Gilbert played 18 seasons with the Rangers, from 1960 through 1978, and was known as Mr. Ranger. Through most of the 1970s, Gilbert was a key member of those Rangers teams who went up against the New York Islanders.
In three games against the Islanders in the 1975 playoffs, Gilbert had four points including a monster three-point night in Game 2. When the news broke late last night, some Islanders legends chimed in on social media.
Mike Bossy, who went up against Rod many times in his career, remembered Rod as first-class and someone who was a great ambassador for those Rangers teams. Butch Goring shared the same feeling as his former teammate.
It’s no surprise that Gilbert was the Masterton winner in 1975-1976. He overcame a serious back injury but proved that he could still play in this league and at a high level (he finished that year with 36 goals and 86 points in 70 games. He’s someone who played the right way and was honored for it.
Here’s what Gary Bettman had to say on Gilbert’s passing in a statement released by the NHL:
"“His contributions to the game were appropriately recognized with hockey’s highest individual honor — induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. Rod’s impact on our game was equaled, if not surpassed, in his retirement. For 32 years, he was one of the greatest ambassadors that our League has seen in its 104-year history. The time that he devoted to countless charitable causes and the passion that he brought to every interaction with hockey fans at not only Madison Square Garden but across the NHL was both incredible and inspiring.”"
May Rod Gilbert rest in peace.