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.