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!
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.
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.
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.
Canadian Hockey Enterprises