Rod Gilbert, Hockey Hall of Famer Known as Mr. Ranger, Dies at 80

Hall of Fame hockey player Rod Gilbert, also known as ‘Mr. Ranger,’ has died

Rod Gilbert, the Hall of Fame hockey player known as Mr. Ranger, has died at age 80, the New York Rangers announced in a statement on Sunday night.

The team’s announcement did not include Gilbert’s cause of death or where he died.

Gilbert, who earned the nickname “Mr. Ranger” while playing his entire 18-season career with the New York Rangers from 1960 to 1978, was the first player ever to have his number retired by the team.

“Everyone in the Rangers organization mourns the loss of a true New York icon,” Rangers President Chris Drury said in the release. “Growing up a young Rangers fan, one of the first names I ever heard about was Rod Gilbert – he was synonymous with Rangers hockey.”

“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,” Madison Square Garden Sports Corp executive chairman James Dolan said in a statement. “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, Judy, and the entire Gilbert family during this difficult time. They will always be a part of the Rangers family, he added.

Gilbert appeared in eight All-Star Games and received the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1976 as the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

His No. 7 jersey became the first number ever to be retired by the Rangers when it was raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters on Oct. 14, 1979. In 2007, the National Hockey League Alumni Association honored Gilbert with the Man of the Year Award.

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