Gilles Gilbert #tbt

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Look at those beautiful, blonde locks….and complete lack of protective equipment for his upper body.  That would be NHL great and CHE staff member Gilles Gilbert, star of today’s edition of the CHE blog.

If you’ve ever brought a team to one of our adult or youth tournaments, especially Montreal or Lake Placid, chances are you’ve met Monsieur Gilbert.  In fact, he’s probably yelled at you to hurry up and get your team ready so your game starts on time, because if there’s one thing Gilles is known for, it’s his extreme respect for punctuality….and his perfect penmanship, I’ mean look at that signature!

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Born in Saint-Esprit, QC just outside of Quebec City in 1949, Gilles was a fantastic athlete from an early age, excelling in hockey as a goaltender in the winter and baseball as a pitcher in the summer.  By the time he was 17 years old he had both the MLB and NHL knocking on his door and had to make a choice, ultimately choosing to pursue a career in hockey.  He was drafted 25th overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1969, but didn’t really find his groove until he was traded to the star studded Boston Bruins in 1973 where he helped take the team to the Stanley Cup finals and being invited to the All Star game that same season.  He played 6 more seasons with Boston before trying his luck with the Detroit Red Wings for his final 3 seasons.

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Known for his athleticism and cat like reflex’s, Gilles still holds a couple of NHL records: points percentage earned by a starting goalie (0.843) and most consecutive wins by a starting goalie (15) both attained during the 1975-76 season where he had a record of 33-8-10.  It’s always a fun time when a current goalie gets to 13 or 14 wins these days as we get to watch Gilles yell at the TV, cheering adamantly against said goalie.  We get to see a similar demeanour every time Don Cherry replays their overtime game 7 loss (Gilles was in net) against the Montreal Canadiens in 1979.

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Since his retirement, Gilles has worked with CHE as an instructor for our Adult and Youth hockey camps, and as a rink manager/celebrity during our adult tournaments.  That’s right, this NHL great will be the kindly gentleman handing out game sheets and room locks this weekend in Montreal, but ask him for an autograph and he’ll be happy to give you his time.  Always a professional, no matter what his profession is.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Robbie Ralph #TBT

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By far the most rewarding part of my job is the interesting people I get to work with and for throughout the year.  Over the years at Canadian Hockey Enterprises we have created a stable staff members so incredibly varied and interesting it’s always great seeing some long time friends in the hotel lobby.  Whether it’s listening to Gilles Gilbert complain about light beer, or seeing Murray Price stroll through the lobby in Banff wearing strictly neon apparel, our unique staff members are what makes our tournaments so great.

Then there’s Rob Ralph, or Ralphy as he’s affectionately known.

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Seen here in his natural habitat, a young(ish) Rob Ralph, sporting a beautiful red suede brimmed CHE souvenir hat, tries to convince a flock of females to give him their leftover food.

Rob has been with CHE since the beginning and it’s his sense of humor and exuberance that makes him a pleasure to work with.  Always willing to play the roll of class clown, Ralphy always has that timely story, joke or commentary to cut the tension in the room., most of which revolve around food.  When he’s not working tournaments you can find him replacement workers on buses past picket lines, selling hot dogs in Bracebridge or dancing to disco…anywhere he can find it.   If you’d like to see a little bit about Ralphy you can friend him on facebook here and see some of his hilarious and valuable insights, or take a look at this article about his sons, but mostly talks about Rob’s history (here) including his time performing as Ogie Ogilthorpe/bus driver in a live action Slap Shot Tour.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises