Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Jody Gage
Although Jody Gage played just 68 games in the NHL, he gained legendary status in the American Hockey League, where he set numerous offensive and longevity records over the span of a glorious 17-year professional career.

Selected by the Detroit Red Wings in round three of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, 45th overall, Gage was much like the second coming of Bruce Boudreau, a player who utterly dominated at the AHL level for many years but was never able to obtain a firm grasp of keeping a roster spot in the NHL. He was the consummate minor-leaguer.

Gage starred for the Toronto Young Nationals in 1975-76 at the age of 16, scoring 80 points in 53 games. The following season he earned a roster spot on the powerful St. Catharines Fincups of the OMJHL, who had just months earlier claimed the Memorial Cup while playing out of Hamilton. The Fincups dominated the league throughout the season with Gage appearing in 47 games, collecting 13 goals and 33 points in a primarily defensive role. The team, which boasted the likes of junior stars Dale McCourt, Mike Keating, Ric Seiling and Al Secord were heavy favourites to repeat as national champions, but were unexpectedly tripped up in the playoffs. The following year the club moved back to Hamilton, but it was in a rebuilding phase and players like Gage became the leaders. Midway through the year he was traded to the Kitchener Rangers where he played out his junior eligibility through the 1978-79 season.

In 1979-80 Gage began his pro career with the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL and the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL. He got his first taste of NHL action in 1980-81 when he was called up to Detroit for 16 games, scoring two goals and four points. He remained in the Red Wings organization for six years. He played 31 games for Detroit in 1981-82, which was the most of any one NHL season. In July, 1985 Gage signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Sabres and although he only played 18 games with Buffalo during his eleven years with the organization, he amassed tremendous statistics playing with their minor-league affiliate in the AHL, the Rochester Americans. In later years it seemed almost more beneficial for Gage not to be called up to the NHL, so as not to interfere with his efforts in chasing down various career records in the AHL. His best offensive season was in 1987-88 when he erupted for 60 goals and 104 points, earning him the second of his three selections to the AHL's First All-Star Team as well as winning the MVP trophy for the year. He also helped the Americans win the Calder Cup in 1987 and 1991. In his 68 NHL games he had 14 goals and 29 points.

It was quite fitting that Gage scored his 504th and final AHL goal against Manny Legace with Gage himself leaving a tremendous legacy in the league. "He was like the Wayne Gretzky of the AHL," offered Richie Dunn, a teammate of Gage's in Rochester. For his part, Gage was extremely thankful that he got to live his dream. "I've been able to play a game that I love and be part of two organizations that treated me with class and respect," Gage reflected.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1975-76 Toronto Nationals ON-Jr.B 53 28 52 80 145
1976-77 St. Catharines Fincups OMJHL 47 13 20 33 2 2 0 0 0 0
1977-78 Hamilton Fincups OMJHL 32 15 18 33 19
1977-78 Kitchener Rangers OMJHL 36 17 27 44 21 9 4 3 7 4
1978-79 Kitchener Rangers OMJHL 58 46 43 89 40 10 1 2 3 6
1979-80 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 63 25 21 46 15 5 2 1 3 0
1979-80 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 14 17 12 29 0
1980-81 Detroit Red Wings NHL 16 2 2 4 22 -10
1980-81 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 59 17 31 48 44 17 9 6 15 12
1981-82 Detroit Red Wings NHL 31 9 10 19 2 -1
1981-82 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 47 21 20 41 21
1982-83 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 65 23 30 53 33 6 1 5 6 8
1983-84 Detroit Red Wings NHL 3 0 0 0 0 0
1983-84 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 73 40 32 72 32 6 3 4 7 2
1984-85 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 78 27 33 60 55
1985-86 Buffalo Sabres NHL 7 3 2 5 0 -3
1985-86 Rochester Americans AHL 73 42 57 99 56
1986-87 Rochester Americans AHL 70 26 39 65 60 17 14 5 19 24
1987-88 Buffalo Sabres NHL 2 0 0 0 0 -2
1987-88 Rochester Americans AHL 76 60 44 104 46 5 2 5 7 10
1988-89 Rochester Americans AHL 65 31 38 69 60
1989-90 Rochester Americans AHL 75 45 38 83 42 17 4 6 10 12
1990-91 Rochester Americans AHL 73 42 43 85 34 15 6 10 16 14
1991-92 Buffalo Sabres NHL 9 0 1 1 2 -1
1991-92 Rochester Americans AHL 67 40 40 80 54 16 5 9 14 10
1992-93 Rochester Americans AHL 71 40 40 80 76 9 5 8 13 2
1993-94 Rochester Americans AHL 44 18 21 39 57
1994-95 Rochester Americans AHL 23 4 5 9 20 2 0 0 0 0
1995-96 Rochester Americans AHL 16 3 12 15 20
NHL Totals 68 14 15 29 26


AHL First All-Star Team (1986, 1988, 1991)
Les Cunningham Award (MVP - AHL) (1988)
Signed as a free agent by Buffalo, July 31, 1985.
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