Bill Gadsby, Rangers great and Hall of Famer, dead at 88

Bill Gadsby, Rangers great and Hall of Famer, dead at 88

Bill Gadsby is the latest Ranger to pass away after Andy Bathgate’s death in February.

Former Ranger defenseman and Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Gadsby is dead at the age of 88.

The somber news follows the Feb. 26 death of Ranger legend Andy Bathgate at 83.

Gadsby, who spent significant stints during the Original Six days with the Chicago Blackhawks (1946-54), Rangers (1955-61) and Detroit Red Wings (1961-66), was the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, points and penalty minutes for a defenseman when he retired.

He boasted 130 goals, 568 points, and a whopping 1,539 penalty minutes in 1,248 career regular season games, and Gadsby told the Hockey Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 1970, that he was proudest of being one of the first NHL players to play 1,000 career games along with “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe.


Gadsby never won a Stanley Cup, but he racked up 58 goals, 271 points and 413 penalty minutes in 457 games for the Rangers after being acquired in the Nov. 1954 trade that sent Allan Stanley to Chicago.

Wearing jersey No. 4, he made five All-Star Games with the Rangers including three votes to the NHL’s First All-Star Team. He was team MVP in 1955-56, set the team record at the time for a Rangers defenseman’s assists at 46 in 1958-59, and had two goals and 10 points in 16 playoff games.

Detroit eventually acquired him on June 12, 1961, in exchange for Les Hunt, hoping to help them win a Cup. Gadsby never got that championship, but after retiring in 1966, he did coach the Wings from 1968-70, compiling a 35-31-12 record.

The Calgary, Alberta, product was a seven-time All-Star through his 20 career seasons.

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