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Iconic NHLer passes away at age 89

Chances are… even if you didn’t know his name, you knew his face.

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According to a report from The Globe and Mail, former Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Dick Gamble has passed away at age 89. 

Now… who is Dick Gamble, you might ask? Well aside from being a Stanley Cup champion and journeyman AHLer who played nearly 200 games in the NHL, Gamble was the model and face of a popular table top hockey game created by Eagle Toys Ltd. in the 1950s. Maybe this will jog your memory:

Look familiar? 

As prolific a scorer as he was on the ice, Mr. Gamble – or at least his likeness – scored countless goals in table-hockey games played across the land. In the 1950s, Eagle Toys Ltd. of Montreal unveiled a version of the game featuring tin players in the livery of the Canadiens and Maple Leafs. It was revealed in Michael McKinley’s 2006 book Hockey: A People’s History that the model for the defencemen and forwards was Mr. Gamble, who was rendered on competing teams of identical quintets as a brunette with Montreal and a strawberry blond with Toronto.

Or maybe, this video will jog your memory:

You could say, without any hyperbole, that Gamble is responsible for more goals than any player in hockey history. Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe can’t even hold a candle to Gamble’s scoring prowess across living rooms and basements across North America. The man is literally an icon of hockey history.

While his time in the NHL was limited, he managed just 41 goals and 82 points in 195 games, Gamble did have a long career in the AHL, playing mostly with the Rochester Americans who retired his number 9 in 1999. He won three championships with the Amerks during the mid-1960s and even led the AHL in scoring at 38 years of age. In retirement he would briefly take up coaching before becoming an recreational vehicle salesman in the Caledonia, New York area.

The native of Moncton, New Brunswick was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame at Fredericton in 1984 and the American Hockey League (AHL) Hall of Fame in 2007. His name was added to the Moncton Wall of Fame in 1986 and the Walk of Fame in Rochester in 2000.

RIP, Mr. Gamble. Without knowing it, you provided countless children with countless hours of pure hockey joy. Your contributions to the game will live on forever.