Hockey legend Doug Gilmour will be joined at the third-annual Timmins Rock NHL Celebrity Dinner at the Porcupine Dante Club on Monday, June 24, by TSN sportscaster Rod Black.
Unlike the guests of honour at the first two Timmins Rock NHL Celebrity Dinners — Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque — Doug Gilmour never won a Norris Trophy in his lengthy, prestigious career.
The man affectionately known as “Killer” to his loyal fans undoubtedly made a few of the recipients of the hardware presented to the NHL’s top defenceman each year look silly, however.
Gilmour, who averaged nearly a point a game (1,474, 450-964-1,414) in regular-season action that saw him play for the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens and the Maple Leafs, will be joined at the third-annual Timmins Rock NHL Celebrity Dinner at the Porcupine Dante Club on Monday, June 24, by TSN sportscaster Rod Black.
“Any time we can have an opportunity to bring in a player who played for both Toronto, or Montreal, or both it is always sure to generate a positive turnout from the public and our fans,” said Rock president Ted Gooch.
“After having Wendel Clark and Shayne Corson here for our annual golf tournament Maple Leafs fans and Habs fans have reached out to us and requested we bring in Doug Gilmour if we ever had the chance.
“Our schedules lined up perfectly this year and we are happy to bring him to Timmins on June 24.”
Not winning a Norris Trophy should come as no surprise to anybody who knows anything about the game of hockey, since Gilmour played centre throughout his NHL career.
His trophy case does include a Stanley Cup — won with the Flames during the 1989 playoffs — a Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward during the 1992-93 campaign and a pair of All-Star Game appearances, in 1993 and 1994.
While he wore seven different jerseys during his NHL career, some of his greatest success came with the Maple Leafs following a 10-player trade that saw him leave the Flames along with Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley, with Gary Leeman, Craig Berube, Michel Petit, Alexander Godynyuk and Jeff Reese going the other way.
Gilmour still holds the Maple Leafs’ record for most assists in a season (95 in 1992-93), most points in a season (127 in 1992-93) and most assists in a single game (six on Feb. 13, 1993), a mark he shares with Babe Pratt (Jan. 18, 1944).
Despite the individual success, Gilmour was unable to help the Maple Leafs end their Stanley Cup draught that dates back to 1967.
They did come close in the 1993 playoffs, as they reached the Campbell Conference final before being derailed by Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings.
Gooch is confident Gilmour will receive a much more enthusiastic greeting from Rock fans than his son Tyson did whenever the Powassan Voodoos invaded the McIntyre Arena.
Tyson, who spent two seasons with the Voodoos prior to finishing up his Junior ‘A’ eligibility with the OJHL’s Wellington Dukes, was a constant pain in the posterior of the Rock during his time in the NOJHL.
“Certainly Doug will receive a much warmer reception at the Dante Club than Tyson used to receive at the McIntyre Arena,” Gooch said.
“Originally, when Paul Coffey was here we were scheduled to have Doug come to that event, see Tyson and drop the puck during the opening ceremony, but his schedule didn’t allow it.
“We thought that would have been a pretty neat experience for Doug.”
With Gilmour having served as coach, general manager and now president of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and Tyson having suited up with the Voodoos, the former is quite familiar with the NOJHL.
“He played close attention during the two years when Tyson was playing in the NOJHL,” Gooch said.
“Tyson was in the OJHL last season, but Doug has always kept a close eye on Junior ‘A’ hockey up in the North.”
Black’s involvement in the sporting world has not been limited to just hockey, as he has long been associated with TSN’s coverage of the Canadian Football League and CIS Football, called Toronto Blue Jays games up until 2009, has called Toronto Raptors games, been part of the coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics and the 1994 Winter Olympics, the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The Winnipeg native has also calls Canadian tournaments for the PGA and has worked boxing, bowling, curling and figure skating events.
At the hockey rink, he has occasionally been part of The NHL on TSN broadcasts and worked the 1991 Canada Cup.
“During our Ray Bourque night, we featured more of a moderated style event where we were lucky to have Steven Vachon (one of the voices of Timmins Rock broadcasts) do a Q and A with Ray Bourque,” Gooch said.
“This time, we thought it would be a nice touch to bring in a professional sports broadcast celebrity to do something similar. It will give fans a chance to meet another celebrity, as well.
“The event will feature a dinner, followed by a keynote speaking engagement and, of course, we will have various signed memorabilia on a silent auction table.
“We have a beautiful, team-signed, framed New York Rangers jersey from the 2017-18 season that will be up for grabs.
“We will have a lot of new surprises that will be on the auction table, as well, this year.”
A number of the local Rock players will likely be in attendance at the event, as well, helping out with the festivities.
Being at the Dante Club, fans can expect mouth-water meal.
“You can never go wrong with the Dante Club’s standard Italian fare,” Gooch said.
“There will be a served meal, with salad, chicken, sausage and nice desserts.”
The Rock president noted the facility should allow for up to 350 people to attend the event.
“We are optimistic we can sell that many tickets,” Gooch said.
“We have had a lot of positive feedback already from some fans who are eager to purchase ticks, so we are confident when they go on sale Friday, they will go quickly.”
With Father’s Day preceding the event by eight days, Gooch notes tickets for the event would be a great gift for any fan.
The Rock have been contacted by Kevin Vincent and Mayor George Pirie about another possible stop for Gilmour during his visit to Timmins.
“As you know, Kevin has been integral removing the airplane wreckage from the Bill Barilko crash and has it in storage,” Gooch said.
“We have reached out Doug’s team and offered to have him take an hour out of his day and bring him out to have a look at the wreckage of the historical plane.”
Barilko, a Timmins native, was the subject of a Tragically Hip song after he was killed in a plane crash along with Dr. Henry Hudson in 1951 after scoring the game-winning goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup-clinching contest.
The Maple Leafs did not win another Stanley Cup until the wreckage was discovered in 1962.
Tickets for the third-annual Timmins Rock NHL Celebrity Dinner at the Porcupine Dante Club, as a cost of $75 each, can be purchased at the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre or KIA of Timmins starting on Friday.
NOJHL NOTES — The fourth-annual Timmins Rock Golf Tournament will be held at Spruce Needles Golf Course on Thursday, Aug. 15. That is the day before training camp opens for the NOJHL squad, with many Rock players, new and old, expected to attend the event. As with past tournaments, a number of former NHL players — including a “high-profile Toronto Maple Leaf” — will be in attendance, as well. The team is not quite ready to announce the names of those players, however … The second-annual Timmins Rock prospect camp is set for this weekend in Oshawa. Participants will take part in three games and one skills session during the camp.