Remembering Suffolk Sports Hall of Famer Clark Gillies

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Remembering Suffolk Sports Hall of Famer Clark Gillies

Suffolk Sports Hall of Famer, Town of Huntington resident and hockey legend Clark Gillies died in January 2022. His loss is a devastating blow to the Islanders organization as he is the first main cog from the dynasty years to pass away.

Gillies, a hockey hall of famer, was integral to the success of the Islanders’ historic run in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was inducted to the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 at the now defunct Sports Plus in Lake Grove.

“Luckily we still have the photos from his induction in our archives and will cherish the memories of Clark representing Suffolk County as a proud resident, who was deeply committed to serving the community thanks to his position in the sports world,” said Chris R. Vaccaro, executive director of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. “His reputation was one of kindness and charisma off the ice and he was one of the hardest working and smartest hockey players of his time. He will forever represent what it means to be a New York Islander and Suffolk Sports Hall of Famer.”

Some notes from the Clark Gillies files …

  • Gillies, 67, a native of Moose Jaw, SK, was a member of the Islanders from 1974-75 through 1985-86.
  • He was selected by the Islanders in the first round (4th overall) of the 1974 NHL Entry Draft. As a member of the Islanders, Gillies played in 872 games (fifth all-time in franchise history), scoring 304 goals (fourth all-time in franchise history) and 359 assists (fifth all-time in franchise history) for 663 points (fourth all-time in franchise history). He played in 159 playoff games for the Islanders, scoring 47 goals and 46 assists for 93 points. Gillies was one of 17 Islanders players that won four straight Stanley Cups Championships from 1980-1983. He also was a member of the group that set the NHL record of 19 straight playoff series wins, a mark that still stands today.
  • He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2002. Gillies represented the Islanders at the 1978 NHL All-Star Game and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1978 and 1979. Gillies had his number 9 retired on December 7, 1996 and his banner now hangs in UBS Arena.
  • Gillies was not only a giant on the ice, but off it in the Long Island community. He began The Clark Gillies Foundation, a non-profit corporation developed to help children who are physically, developmentally and/or financially challenged. The goal of the foundation is to improve the quality of life with 100% of the proceeds going straight to people in need.
  • The Huntington Hospital Pediatric Unit has been named after Clark and his foundation, which raised one million dollars to help fund the construction of the unit. The Foundation continues their association with Huntington Hospital after they created Brianna’s Cub room within the Clark Gillies Pediatric Unit and by creating The Clark Gillies Pediatric Emergency Room which is staffed and equipped specifically for children.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, a fellow Suffolk Sports Hall of Famer and Town of Huntington native, offered his thoughts on the hockey icon’s passing.

Long Island native and broadcaster Linda Cohn, who will be inducted to the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 2022, also weighed in on Twitter.