Sask. Hall of Fame NHLer Clark Gillies dead at 67
Clark Gillies, a Hockey Hall of Famer and Regina Pats legend, has died at the age of 67.
The New York Islanders, the team he spent 12 NHL seasons with, said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of Gillies’ passing, in an announcement Friday.
Gillies was regarded as a force on the ice and pillar of the community during his 14-year Hall of Fame Career in the NHL.
Originally from Moose Jaw, Sask. Gillies would go onto play with the Regina Pats from 1971 to 1974, leading the team to a Memorial Cup win in the 1974 season.
He was selected by the New York Islanders in the first round of the NHL entry draft in 1974 and would play with the team for the next 12 seasons before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres for the 1987 and 1988 seasons, the last of his career.
As a forward, Gillies was an essential part of the New York Islanders dynasty in the early 1980’s which saw the team sweep the Stanley Cup from 1980 to 1983.
Gillies was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. He played a total of 958 games in the NHL, scoring 319 goals and 378 assists. Gillies represented the Islanders on the first NHL All Star team in 1978 and had his number 9 retired by the Islanders on Dec. 8, 1996
“The pride he felt wearing the Islanders sweater on the ice was evident by his willingness to do anything to win,” said New York Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello about Gillies. “Off the ice, he was just as big of a presence, always taking the time to give back to the local community.”
Barry Trotz, head coach of the Islanders, described Gillies as “bigger than life.”
“I remember when I met him for the first time I always thought that’s who I want to be when I grow up,” said Matt Martin, winger for the Islanders, “he’s just an amazing human being.”
Gillies played 201 games as a member of the Pats, and scored a total of 283 points (117 goals and 166 assists) during his time with the Regina staple according to the Pats’ website.
John Paddock , Regina Pats head coach and general manager, played against Gillies in junior and a little bit during pro, also spending some time with him during some visits with the Pats.
“His reputation, he lives up to his reputation as a person, as a player and as a Regina Pat and I know lots of people that know him so it was a sad day yesterday,” said Paddock.
Gillies’ had his number 9 retired by the Pats on February 18, 2000.
Gillies established the Clark Gillies Foundation, a non-profit corporation that was developed to “help children who are physically, mentally or financially challenged,” as a way to give back to the community that he represented on the ice for more than a decade.
In a 2016 vote by fans, Gillies was named the 24th best player in WHL history.
Gillies is survived by his wife, Pam, and their three daughters.
People around Saskatchewan and the hockey world took time to remember Gillies on social media Friday evening.
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