Rangers to wear '7' patch honouring Rod Gilbert this season

FILE - In this March 25, 1974, file photo, New York Rangers right wing Rod Gilbert displays a hockey stick marked with a "300," the total number of goals he has scored in his career, in the Rangers' locker room in New York. (John Lent/AP)

NEW YORK — The New York Rangers announced Thursday they'll honour late Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert this season by wearing a patch featuring his No. 7 on their jerseys.

Players will also wear white "Gilbert'' jerseys for pregame warmups prior to the home opener at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 14. They will then be signed and auctioned off for charity.

That game takes place on the 42nd anniversary of Gilbert becoming the first Rangers player to have his number retired. It's against the Dallas Stars almost 44 years since he had two points on "Rod Gilbert Night'' against the Minnesota North Stars.

New York is also creating the Rod Gilbert "Mr. Ranger'' award to recognize the player who best honors his legacy by showing leadership on and off the ice and making contributions to the community. It's the franchise's first new award since 1988.

Gilbert died in August at age 80.

From Montreal, Gilbert spent his entire 18-year NHL career with the Rangers — a career that was nearly derailed In 1960 when he broke a vertebra in his back after slipping on garbage on the ice while playing for Guelph in the junior Ontario Hockey Association.

Gilbert recovered and ended up with 406 goals and 615 assists in 1,065 regular-season games, 34 goals and 33 assists in 79 playoff games. He holds Rangers records for goals and points.

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