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About the artist:
Rodrigue Gabriel Gilbert was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who played his entire career for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Known as "Mr. Ranger", he played right wing on the GAG line (Goal-A-Game line) with Vic Hadfield and Jean Ratelle but never with a Stanley Cup championship team. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982, and was the first player in Rangers history to have his number retired. After his playing career, he became president of the Rangers' alumni association.
Gilbert was born in Montreal on July 1, 1941, the son of Alma, a homemaker, and Gabriel Gilbert, a blacksmith. He grew up a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. He played three seasons for the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1957 to 1960. In his final year with the team, Gilbert slipped on some garbage strewn on the ice and fell back into the boards, breaking a vertebra in his back and temporarily paralyzing him. Corrective surgery went awry and led to hemorrhaging in his leg, and doctors feared amputation would be necessary, but Gilbert recovered.
After finishing his junior career with the Guelph Royals, Gilbert joined the Rangers near the end of the 1960–61 NHL season. He soon became popular with the Rangers' fans, and he rose in prominence as an NHL star. However, it was not without pain. In 1965–66, his career was nearly derailed when he went through a second spinal fusion operation. This surgery was performed by Dr. Kazuo Yanagisawa. Gilbert was out of action for half a season, but he bounced back in 1966–67 and scored 28 goals. On February 24, 1968, he scored four goals in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. The Ratelle-Hadfield-Gilbert line, called the GAG line, proved formidable for years. He played with Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. He won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1976 for his perseverance over his back troubles.
At the beginning of the 1977–78 NHL season, Gilbert and Rangers' General Manager John Ferguson got into a contract dispute. He would retire after the season, his eighteenth in the NHL. His number 7 was retired by the Rangers on October 14, 1979, the first number to be retired by the team.
Rodrigue Gabriel Gilbert was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who played his entire career for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Known as "Mr. Ranger", he played right wing on the GAG line (Goal-A-Game line) with
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