Clark Gillies, a former member of the New York Islanders, died Jan. 21 at the age of 67. The Greenlawn resident played left wing for the Islanders as they won four straight Stanley Cup championships.
Huntington City Council members, Supervisor Ed Smyth and Council members Eugene Cook, Joan Cergol, Dave Bennardo and Sal Ferro remembered the hockey player in a joint statement where they called him “a pillar of our community” and said he had a “bigger-than-life personality.
“His ice hockey career is legendary, eclipsed only by the great job he did after hanging up his skates,” the board wrote. “Clark has always ensured that the spotlight shines on him on a variety of worthy causes, including a new pediatric wing at Huntington Hospital.”
The hockey player founded the Hauppauge-based Clark Gillies Foundation. The nonprofit helps children who are struggling physically, developmentally or financially through medical services, family financial assistance, events to improve a child’s quality of life and more, according to the site. Foundation website.
In addition to the pediatric and pediatric emergency units at Huntington Hospital named after Gillies, the foundation also partnered with former Islander Pat LaFontaine’s organization to create Brianna’s Cub ward at the hospital.
Prior to playing hockey, Gillies played three seasons of minor league baseball with the Houston Astro farm team, according to the foundation’s website. When the Canadian native switched sports, he played junior hockey with the Regina Pats for three seasons. He was drafted by the Islanders in 1974. He was then a 1st team all-star in 1978 and 1979. He was the most valuable player in the 1979 Challenge Cup series against the Soviets, where he played for the Canadian team.
In 1986 Gillies was drafted by the Buffalo Sabers and in 1988 he retired from hockey. He was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and in 2002 he was elected to the NHL Hall of Fame.
According to Gillies’ New York Times obituary, he is survived by his wife, Pam; his daughters Brianna Bourne, Jocelyn Schwarz and Brooke Kapetanakos; and eight grandchildren.