Clark Gillies, 67, Undoubted Star on Islanders’ Championship Teams, Dies

Clark Gillies, the left wing of the Hall of Fame who helped lead the Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980s, died Friday at his home in Greenlawn on Long Island. He is 67 years old.

His wife, Pam, said the cause was cancer.

Gillies played alongside his teammates Bryan Trottier at center and Mike Bossy on the right on a line known collectively as the Trio Grande. Their Islanders won the Stanley Cup every year from 1980 to 1983 with a lineup of young players.

Standing 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 215 pounds, and with a dark beard, Gillies created an impressive image for her entire era. He is particularly adept at knocking out opposing players his way in their corners, then digging the ball out and passing it to Trottier or Bossy to shoot on goal. But Gillies is a brilliant goalscorer in his own right.

Playing with The Islanders for 12 seasons, from 1974 to 1986, he scored 304 goals in the regular season and had 359 assists. His 663 points are fourth in Islander history. After two seasons with the Buffalo Sabers, he retired with a total of 319 goals and 378 assists.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Islanders, who retired Gillies’ No. 9 in December 1996 during a ceremony at the old Nassau Arena, held a moment of silence for him ahead of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at UBS Arena on Saturday night. They illuminated his jersey hanging on the rink, and the Islander players wore his number as a patch on their uniform.

“He made life easier for everyone who played with him,” said Butch Goring, center of Islander championship teams and now team announcer, recall before the game. “Trottier and Bossy can do what they want because they already have a big man by their side.”

Clark Gillies was born on April 7, 1954, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the son of Donald and Dorothy (Clark) Gillies. His father was a salesman at a department store. At age 7, Clark began skating in youth hockey leagues, but he also played baseball.

The Houston Astros, who tracked him at a practice camp in Saskatchewan, signed him as the first catcher with their minor league team in Covington, Va. Bob Bourne, whom Gillies faced on the youth baseball team in Saskatchewan, was one of Gillies’ minor league teammates and later became his Islander teammate.

“They gave me three years to develop,” Gillies told The New York Times in 2011, recalling the period in adolescence. “Then they said we thought you had a future in baseball.” But Gillies recalls: “I played baseball two months a year and hockey nine or 10 months. I play hockey better than baseball. I said thanks but no thanks. Hockey is always first and foremost. ”

Gillies joined the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats and starred on the team that won the 1974 Memorial Cup, which is presented to Canada’s major youth champions.

He was selected by the Islanders in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1974 NHL draft without competing in a professional hockey game. He established his toughness as a rookie when he beat Dave Schultz of the Philadelphia Flyers and then defeated Terry O’Reilly of the Boston Bruins in a series of games. fight in the playoff.

Gillies became captain of the Islanders in the second half of the 1976–77 season but gave that role to Denis Potvin during the 1979-1980 pre-season.

The Islanders’ reign was off to a great start when they beat the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup in 1980. They beat the Minnesota North Stars, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers in the next three Stanley Cup finals, then lost. Oilers in the 1984 Cup Final.

Gillies remained a popular figure on Long Island long after his retirement. While working in the financial world, he kept in touch with Islander players and established Clark Gillies Foundation, supporting children with physical, developmental or financial difficulties. It also financed the construction of Huntington Hospital’s pediatric unit.

In addition to his wife, Pam Goettler Gillies, he is survived by daughters Brianna Bourne, who is married to Justin, son of Bob Bourne; Jocelyn Schwarz; and Brooke Kapetanakos, as well as eight grandchildren.

For all his reputation as a tough guy, Gillies has never suffered 100 minutes of penalties in a single season. His peak was 99 during 1980-81 when he scored 33 goals with 45 assists.

“People wanted me to run around on the ice bumping into everything that moved,” Gillies told The Times in February 1982. “But that wasn’t me. If a teammate needs me, I’m there and the guys know it and the opposition knows it. I could fight if I had to, but I’d rather just play hockey.” Clark Gillies, 67, Undoubted Star on Islanders’ Championship Teams, Dies

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