Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Bruce Gamble
Bruce Gamble was a well-known name in the Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League back in the early 1950s. The young netminder had made a name for himself as one of the top goalies in the region. And he was surprisingly nimble considering his stocky physique. He was playing with the Port Arthur Bruins at the age of 14. After three years with the club, he joined the Port Arthur North Stars in 1955-56, leading the team to the Memorial Cup tournament. The following year, he moved to southern Ontario and backstopped the Guelph Bitmores of the OHA to a spot in the Memorial Cup. Gamble had the rare distinction of making three trips to the Memorial Cup in as many years when he played for the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens in 1957-58.

Gamble turned pro in the fall of 1958 as a member of the WHL's Vancouver Canucks. He was called up to the NHL's New York Rangers for two games where he filled in for the injured Gump Worsley. His solid play drew the attention of the other NHL clubs and the Boston Bruins claimed him in the Intra-League Draft. In 1960-61 Gamble took on the majority of the workload for the Bruins, playing in 52 games.

In 1964-65 Gamble found himself at the centre of controversy when he refused a demotion to Springfield of the AHL and was subsequently suspended for the entire season. Although his stubborn attitude cost him a year of playing, he finally got his wish and was traded. The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Gamble and he appeared in ten games as a backup to Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk. He was back in 1966-67 as a member of the last Maple Leafs team to win a Stanley Cup. He played in 23 games for Toronto that year, just behind the 28 and 27 games played by Sawchuk and Bower, respectively.

While with the Leafs, Gamble became as well known for his trademark sideburns as his wide frame. Coach Punch Imlach made it known he was not impressed with Gamble's sideburns and ultimately bribed him to shave them off.

Off the ice Gamble had a very laid back, easy going personality, but he seemed to take personal offense to any shot that eluded him while playing in goal. Teammates often said the only time they saw him angry was after allowing a goal.

Gamble remained with the Maple Leafs until the midway point of the 1970-71 season when he was part of a huge deal with Philadelphia which also saw Mike Walton and Pierre Plante move to the Flyers for Bernie Parent and Rick Kehoe.

On February 9, 1972 Gamble's hockey career came to a sudden end when he suffered a heart attack during a Flyers' game against the Vancouver Canucks. Gamble suffered a fatal heart attack in Niagara Falls, Ontario on December 30, 1982 at the age of 44.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1952-53 Port Arthur Bruins TBJHL 11 0 7.45
1953-54 Port Arthur Bruins TBJHL 36 20 15 1 0 4.17 9 0 4.67
1954-55 Port Arthur Bruins TBJHL
1955-56 Port Arthur North Stars TBJHL 31 19 10 2 0 3.13 9 8 1 0 3.00
1955-56 Port Arthur North Stars M-Cup 13 7 6 0 0 4.74
1956-57 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 40 6 2.59 10 0 3.40
1956-57 Guelph Biltmores M-Cup 6 1 4 1 0 4.54
1957-58 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 50 13 32 5 1 4.10
1957-58 Providence Reds AHL 1 1 0 0 0 1.00
1957-58 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens M-Cup 13 10 3 0 2 2.95
1958-59 Vancouver Canucks WHL 65 29 26 10 7 3.06 5 2 3 0 2 2.20
1958-59 New York Rangers NHL 2 0 2 0 0 3.00
1959-60 Providence Reds AHL 71 37 32 2 4 3.24 5 1 4 0 0 3.48
1960-61 Providence Reds AHL 19 6 13 0 0 4.47
1960-61 Boston Bruins NHL 52 12 33 7 0 3.71
1961-62 Portland Buckaroos WHL 41 28 11 2 2 2.62
1961-62 Boston Bruins NHL 28 6 18 4 1 4.32
1962-63 Kingston Frontenacs EPHL 68 39 18 11 1 3.23 5 4 1 0 1 2.60
1963-64 Springfield Indians AHL 21 5 12 3 0 3.90
1964-65 Springfield Indians AHL
1965-66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 5 2 3 4 2.51
1965-66 Tulsa Oilers CPHL 54 21 24 9 4 2.87
1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 23 5 10 4 0 3.39
1966-67 Tulsa Oilers CPHL 7 2 4 1 0 3.43
1966-67 Rochester Americans AHL 5 2 3 0 0 5.00 1 0 0 0 0 6.00
1967-68 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 41 19 13 3 5 2.32
1968-69 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 61 28 20 11 3 2.80 3 0 2 0 9.07
1969-70 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 52 19 24 9 5 3.06
1970-71 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 23 6 14 1 2 3.87
1970-71 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 11 3 6 2 0 3.36 2 0 2 0 6.00
1971-72 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 24 7 8 2 2 2.93
NHL Totals 327 110 150 46 22 3.21 5 0 4 0 7.28


OHA-Jr. First All-Star Team (1957)
WHL Coast Division Second All-Star Team (1959)
WHL - Coast Division - Rookie of the Year Award 1959)
EPHL First All-Star Team (1963) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1968)
Promoted to NY Rangers from Vancouver (WHL) to replace injured Gump Worsley in games on February 11 (Boston 5, NY Rangers 3) and February 12 (Detroit 1, NY Rangers 0), 1959. Claimed by Boston from NY Rangers in Intra-League Draft, June 10, 1959. Loaned to Portland (WHL) by Boston to complete transaction that sent Don Head to Boston (May, 1961), September, 1961. Traded to Springfield (AHL) by Boston with Terry Gray, Randy Miller and Dale Rolfe for Bob McCord, June, 1963.
Suspended for entire 1964-65 season by Springfield (AHL) for refusing to report to team, September, 1964. Traded to Toronto by Springfield (AHL) for Larry Johnston and Bill Smith, September, 1965. Traded to Philadelphia by Toronto with Mike Walton and Toronto's 1st round choice (Pierre Plante) in 1971 Amateur Draft for Bernie Parent and Philadelphia's 2nd round choice (Rick Kehoe) in 1971 Amateur Draft, February 1, 1971.
Suffered career-ending heart attack during game vs. Vancouver, February 9, 1972.