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Remembering Rod Gilbert

August 24, 2021

It is rare that “the after death accolades” apply toward the good, the way they do, regarding the superb player and person, Rod Gilbert, who died days back, at age 80.

I received a number of calls and something called texts (oh for the 6 team league, when even the perennial non ‘offs teams such as the Rangers, with Rod Gilbert and Andy Bathgate, among others, had stars) from Rangers’ fans praising and commemorating the classy Gilbert, who starred on excellent, albeit non title winning teams from (’70-’74), in an 18 year career, spent entirely with the New York Rangers.

More telling in my opinion, two anything but Rangers’ fans, “The MLW Guy” and me both recall meeting Rod, one of the most friendly celebrated people, I have ever encountered.

He was part of a brilliant line called the “Goal A Game” line with Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield in 1971-1972 and was part of the Canada team, that won  a classic “Summit Series,” vs The Soviets, later in 1972.

My fondest memory is meeting Rod, as I sat with “Ent,” known to many for other, but a true hockey fan, at an event celebrating the return of NHL ‘offs in ’06.

He sat with us, talking hockey and loving it. He truly was a great ambassador for the game.

Among his gems that night, the rather obvious citing of Bobby Orr’s greatness (I add that Mr. Orr is also a classy, friendly person), his love for his encouraging childhood friend and future NHL player, (Noel was a fine one and is best remembered regarding Bobby Orr) Noel Piccard and the importance of Mike Richter in the Rangers’ ’94 title. (He cited the the myriad Devils’ 2 on 1’s, Richter stopped with the Devils already up (2-0) in #6/semis and (3-2) in the series).

I will always cherish that talk with the great player/person, Rod Gilbert.

 

Topps 1960 Rod Gilbert.png

Rod Gilbert, pictured above.

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