Rod Gilbert, Hall of Fame forward for New York Rangers, dies at 80

NEW YORK -- Rod Gilbert has passed away. He was a Hall of Fame right wing and starred for the New York Rangers. He was 80.
Gilbert's family confirmed his death to the Rangers Sunday. The team did not provide any details.

In a statement, James Dolan, Rangers owner, said that Rod Gilbert's passing was deeply troubling. He was one of the greatest Rangers ever to play for the organization and a great ambassador of hockey. While his achievements on the ice earned him a Hall of Famer for his contributions, it was his love of New York and his loyalty to the Rangers that made him an instant favorite of generations of fans. He also won the title of "Mr. Ranger.'"

Gilbert, who was born in Montreal, spent his entire 18-year NHL hockey career with the Rangers. He almost lost his career in 1960 after he fell on some garbage while playing for Guelph of the junior Ontario Hockey Association.

Gilbert recovered and finished with 406 goals, 615 assists and 34 goals in 1,065 regular season games. He also had 33 goals and 33 assists during 79 playoff games. He had three assists and a goal in six games in 1972 for Canada, which won the Summit Series by eight games over the Soviet Union.

In 1982, he was inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame.

Gilbert was a participant in eight All-Star Games. In 1976, Gilbert received the Bill Masterton trophy as the NHL's player who best exemplifies the qualities "best exemplifies perseverance sportsmanship and dedication hockey."

His No. 7 jersey was the first to be retired by the Rangers. The Rangers made the No. 7 jersey their first ever to be retired when it was elevated to Madison Square Garden rafters Oct. 14, 1979.