Clark Gillis, 67, Rugged Star in the Islander Championships, dies

Clark Gillis, a solid left winger in the Hall of Fame who helped the Islanders win four consecutive Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980s, died Friday at his home in Greenloon, Long Island. He was 67 years old.

His wife, Pam, said the cause was cancer.

Gillies plays with fellow Hall of Fame colleagues Brian Trotty in the center and Mike Bossi on the right wing in a line known as the Grande Trio. Their islanders won the Stanley Cup championship every year from 1980 to 1983 with a corps of young players.

With a height of 6 feet 3 inches and 215 pounds and a black beard, Gillis made an impressive image of a striker of his time. He was especially good at getting opposing players out of the way into their corners, then digging up the puck and passing it to Trotie or Bossi to hit the door. But Gillies was an outstanding goal scorer in his own right.

Playing with the Islanders for 12 seasons, from 1974 to 1986, he scored 304 goals in the regular season and made 359 assists. His 663 points are the fourth in the history of the islanders. After two seasons with Buffalo Sabers, he retired with a total of 319 goals and 378 assists.

It was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Islanders, who withdrew Gilles’ No. 9 in December 1996 at a ceremony at the Old Coliseum in Nassau, observed a minute of silence for him before their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at UBS Arena on Saturday night. They lit his T-shirt hanging over the slide, and the islanders wore his number as a patch on their uniforms.

“It made life easier for everyone who played with it,” said Butch Goring, center of the Isles Championship teams and now the team’s television cameraman., recalled before the match. “Trotie and Bossi could do what they wanted because they had the big man on the wing.

Clark Gillis was born on April 7, 1954 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, son of Donald and Dorothy (Clark) Gillis. His father was a department store salesman. At the age of 7, Clark began skating in youth hockey leagues, but also played baseball.

Houston Astros, who scouted him at a test camp in Saskatchewan, signed him as a first-line player with their minor league team in Covington, Virginia. Bob Bourne, whom Gillis had faced in youth baseball in Saskatchewan, was one of Gillis’s underage teammates in the league and later became his teammate from the Isles.

“They gave me three years to grow,” Gillis told The New York Times in 2011, recalling her time as a minor. “Then they said we think you have a future in baseball.” But Gillis remembers: “I played baseball two months a year and hockey nine or ten months. I was better at hockey than baseball. I said thank you, but not thank you. Hockey has always come first. ”

Gilles joined Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League and joined the team that won the 1974 Memorial Cup, which is awarded to Canada’s top junior champions.

He was selected by the islanders in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1974 NHL Draft without playing in a professional hockey game. He solidified his endurance as a rookie when he hit Philadelphia Flyers’ Dave Schultz and later defeated Boston Bruins rough Terry O’Reilly in a series of battles during a playoff game.

Gillis captained the Islanders in the second half of the 1976-77 season, but ceded that role to Dennis Potwin in the 1979-80 preseason.

The Islander dynasty began when they defeated the Flyers for the 1980 Stanley Cup Championship. They defeated the Minnesota North Stars, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers in the next three Stanley Cup finals, then lost to the Oilers in the 1984 Cup Finals. .

Gillis remained a popular figure on Long Island long after her retirement. While working in the financial world, he kept in touch with islanders and founded the Clark Gillies Foundation, which helps children who are physically, developed or financially disadvantaged. He also helped fund the construction of Huntington Hospital’s pediatric ward.

In addition to his wife Pam Gotler Gillis, he is survived by his daughters Brianna Bourne, who is married to Bob Bourne’s son Justin; Jocelyn Schwartz; and Brooke Kapetanakos, as well as eight grandchildren.

Despite his reputation as a tough guy, Gillis has never had 100 penalty minutes per season. His maximum was 99 in 1980-81, when he scored 33 goals with 45 assists.

“People want me to run on the ice, hitting anything that moves,” Gillis told The Times in February 1982. “But it’s not me. If a teammate needs me, I’m there and the boys know it, and the opposition knows it. I can fight if I have to, but I prefer to just play hockey.

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