Rod Gilbert, NHL Hall of Famer and Known as ‘Mr. Ranger,’ Dead at 80

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rod Gilbert, an NHL Hall of Famer who also is known as “Mr. Ranger” by New York Rangers fans, died on Sunday. Gilbert was 80.

Team owner James Dolan shared the news in a statement from the team, according to a tweet from senior writer Dan Rosen.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Rod Gilbert — one of the greatest Rangers to ever play for our organization and one of the greatest ambassadors the game of hockey has ever had,” Dolan said. “While his on-ice achievements rightly made him a Hall of Famer, it was his love for the Rangers and the people of New York that endeared him to generations of fans and forever earned him the title, ‘Mr. Ranger.’

“Our thoughts are with Rod’s wife, Julie, and the entire Gilbert family during this difficult time,” Dolan said. “They will always be a part of the Rangers family.”

Rangers Team President Chris Drury Remembered Rod Gilbert

Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury also issued a statement on the NHL Hall of Famer’s death.

“Everyone in the Rangers organization mourns the loss of a true New York icon,” Drury said. “Rod’s remarkable talent and zest for life personified this city and endeared him to hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike.

“Growing up as a young Rangers fan, one of the first names I heard about was Rod Gilbert — he was synonymous with Rangers hockey,” Drury said. “It was an incredible privilege to get to know Rod. His passion and dedication to the Rangers will forever be a source of inspiration for me.”

Rod Gilbert played in eight NHL All-Star Games throughout his career. Gilbert holds the Rangers team record for career goals and career points.

Rangers Star Inducted Into NHL Hall Of Fame Back In 1982

He became the first player in Rangers history to have his number retired. Rod Gilbert wore No. 7 throughout his entire NHL career, all played with the Rangers. Gilbert entered the NHL Hall of Fame in 1982.

Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman shared some comments about Gilbert as a player and person.

“Rod Gilbert’s impact on the National Hockey League and the New York Rangers over the past 62 years was profound – both on and off the ice,” a portion of Bettman’s statement said. “As a player, he was revered by his teammates, respected by his opponents, and absolutely beloved by Rangers’ fans.” 

In conclusion, Bettman also recalled his friendship with Rod Gilbert.

“On a personal level, I will miss Rod’s friendship and love for the game,” Bettman said. “I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, Judy, and his children Chantal, Justin, Holly, and Brooke and his seven grandchildren. The game has lost a true friend.”