"" admits Rod, addressing the challenges he faced during his Hall of Fame career. "" Yet, at no time did Rod Gilbert ever imagine that he would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame at the conclusion of his career. ""
The New York Rangers found respectability, largely on the shoulders of their star right winger, Rod Gilbert. Rod contributed twelve seasons with twenty or more goals, including his career best of 43 in 1971-72. Gilbert finished in the NHL's top ten scoring leaders in 1963-64, 1964-65, 1967-68, 1971-72 and 1974-75. He was selected to the NHL's First All-Star Team in 1972 and to the Second Team in '68, and was chosen as the Masterton Trophy recipient in 1976 for his perseverance playing at such a high level after spinal fusion. Gilbert retired partway through the 1977-78 season, having played 1,065 regular season contests in which he scored 406 goals and added 615 assists for 1,021 points. Rod Gilbert was part of Team Canada in the Summit Series of 1972, and is proudly a part of Canada's Team of the Century.
Rod Gilbert was born in a suburb of Montreal, Canada called Pointe aux Trembles. He had two older brothers, an older sister, and one younger brother. It was a very tight-knit French Canadian family in a community that spoke entirely in French. He went to a Catholic school just across Rue de St. Jean deBaptist, the street they lived on. The school was Brothers of the Sacred Heart, and he went there from grades 1 through 12. He and his family went to church every Sunday, and every night at 7, just before dinner, the said the rosary, following Cardinal Leger speaking it on the radio. In French, of course. Rod told me he knew no other language but French until he was about 10.
Rod Gilbert (pronounced jill-bear) has lived for the past 20 years at the crest of a hill in Sag Harbor, overlooking from his glass and wood house the sunset over Long Beach in one direction and the sunrise over Sag Harbor bay in the other. This spectacular view, from a house designed by his wife, Judy, is a fitting retirement home for one of the greatest figures in New York sports, a man who during his prime amassed records playing for the New York Rangers hockey team that have not been broken to this day. He’s scored more goals than any other Ranger. His total points exceeded 1,000 and that team recond has never been broken. And his number 7 was retired at the conclusion of his career in a ceremony at Madison Square Garden, the first ever retired by that team. It cannot be worn ever again by a player for the Rangers.