Clark Gillies, the late National Hockey League Hall of Famer and former New York Islanders player, now has an ice rink named after him in the Town of Huntington. The Dix Hills Ice Rink was renamed the Clark Gillies Arena during a celebratory ceremony of Gillies’ life and legacy on Saturday.
The Greenlawn resident’s family and friends, both current and former Islanders players, Town of Huntington officials, and others gathered around center ice of the rink at Dix Hills Park to honor Gillies’ larger-than-life impact through his hockey accolades and philanthropy on Long Island. New York Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, current Islanders forward Matt Martin, Huntington Town Supervisor Ed Smyth, and Gillies’ wife Pamela, among several others, shared memories about Gillies and his lasting support of both the team and regular Long Islanders.
“I cannot tell you how happy Clark would have been to know that future generations of figure skaters and hockey players would be learning the game that he loved in a rink bearing his name,” Pamela said, shortly before she helped reveal the new arena logo with Gillies’ name on center ice and cut the ribbon for the renamed facility.
After Gillies died in January, Huntington Town council members Sal Ferro and Joan Cergol introduced a resolution to the town board to rename the ice rink. Their fellow council members “voted wholeheartedly supporting the renaming of this rink,” Ferro, who was a personal friend of Gillies, said.
Ferro and Cergol led the ceremony and spoke of Gillies’ dedication to changing lives in the Town of Huntington and on Long Island through the Clark Gillies Foundation. Notably, Gillies and his foundation donated $1 million to Huntington Hospital to build its pediatric unit and pediatric emergency room, which was also named for him.
“He was a champion on and off the ice,” Ferro said. “He stayed here after his career and helped make Long Island a better place, helped make Huntington a better place.”
Gillies, who was originally from Canada, was drafted by the New York Islanders in the mid-70s and made Long Island his home. Cergol said he was a regular at local fundraisers to help support causes to improve the Town of Huntington.
“Just the knowledge that Clark would be present to help advance a given cause served like a gravitational pull, and he used that gift for good – for so, so much good,” Cergol said. “I’ve met very few people who served our community with the passion and purpose of Clark Gillies, and I’m very moved to see how much the community loves him back in return.”
“Seeing the turnout today does remind us what a great man Clark Gillies was and still is in all of our hearts and will always remain there,” Ferro added.
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