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This Date in NHL History

Aug. 1: Gilbert signs first NHL contract with Rangers

Plus: Future Penguins center Apps Jr. born in Toronto

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1961: Rod Gilbert signs his first NHL contract with the New York Rangers exactly one month after turning 20.

The signing comes after Gilbert finishes his fourth season with the Rangers-sponsored Guelph Royals in the Ontario Hockey Association with 103 points (54 goals, 49 assists) in 47 games. He makes his NHL debut with the Rangers on Nov. 27, 1960, earning an assist on a third-period goal by Dean Prentice that gives the Rangers a 3-3 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden.

Gilbert misses much of the 1961-62 season after back surgery but is available during the Stanley Cup Playoffs when forward Ken Schinkel is injured. He scores twice in Game 3 of the Semifinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, finishes with five points in four games and becomes a full-time NHL player in 1962-63. Gilbert retires in November 1977 and is elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. He remains the Rangers' all-time leader in goals (406) and points (1,021).



1947: Syl Apps Jr., son of Hockey Hall of Famer Syl Apps, is born in Toronto. Though the center follows in his father's footsteps as an excellent skater and playmaker, he never becomes as famous despite playing more NHL games (727-423) and finishing his career with more points (606-432) than his father.

The younger Apps is chosen by the Rangers with the No. 21 pick in the 1964 NHL Draft and makes his League debut during the 1970-71 season. But he sees limited ice time and scores one goal in 31 games before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins with defenseman Sheldon Kannegiesser for forward Glen Sather on Jan. 26, 1971. 

Apps becomes an offensive threat in Pittsburgh with back-to-back 85-point seasons in 1972-73 and 1973-74, and a 32-goal, 99-point season in 1975-76. He's traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 2, 1977, and retires after the 1979-80 season. His daughter, Gillian Apps, becomes a three-time Olympic gold medal winner with Canada's women's hockey team.

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