National Hockey League Hall of Famer and former New York Islander Clark Gillies, who was part of the team’s dynasty that led the Isles to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980 through 1983, has died. He was 67.
Gillies, a legendary power-forward, racked up more than 1,000 penalty minutes along with more than 300 goals and nearly 400 assists during his career. He spent his retirement dedicated to philanthropy through his eponymous The Clark Gillies Foundation, an Islandia-based nonprofit he founded in 1998 to aid physically, developmentally and/or financially challenged children.
“The entire Islanders community is devastated by the loss of Clark Gillies,” Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello said. “He epitomized what it means to be a New York Islander. The pride he felt wearing the Islanders sweater on the ice was evident by his willingness to do anything to win. Off the ice, he was just as big of a presence, always taking the time to give back to the local community.”
A native of Moose Jaw, a city in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, Gillies was selected by the Islanders in the first round — 4th overall — of the 1974 NHL Entry Draft. As a member of the Islanders, Gillies played in 872 games, 159 playoff games, and was a member of the group that set the NHL record of 19 straight playoff series wins — a record that still stands today.
Gillies represented the Islanders at the 1978 NHL All-Star Game and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1978 and 1979. His number 9 was retired on December 7, 1996 and his banner now hangs in UBS Arena. He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2002.
His foundation left a lasting impact on the region. The Huntington Hospital Pediatric Unit has been named for Clark and his foundation, which raised $1 million to help fund the unit’s construction, the nonprofit created Brianna’s Cub room within the unit and created The Clark Gillies Pediatric Emergency Room, which is staffed and equipped specifically for children.