One of the more unique characters to ever play the game, goalie Gilles Gratton showed flashes of brilliance in the NHL and WHA. He was occasionally hot between the pipes but was better known as an eccentric figure who painted wild designs or animal faces on his masks and was outspoken throughout his career.
The native of LaSalle, Quebec, was chosen 69th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1972 after a fine junior career with the Oshawa Generals of the OHA. He opted to join the WHA where he played three years with the Ottawa Nationals and Toronto Toros. Gratton often acted in a way that took the attention away from his talent. One night in San Diego he addressed the crowd prior to a playoff game and began insulting their city and team in a odd show of gamesmanship
Gratton was not without his admirers. In 1974 he was the first string goalie for Canada in the Summit Series that matched the USSR against the best from the WHA. In July, 1975, the Sabres sent Gratton's rights to the St. Louis Blues for cash. He only played a handful of NHL games in 1975-76 before walking out on the team in November after a game. He was blocked by the Blues when he tried to rejoin the Toros but was eventually released and signed with the New York Rangers. Gratton played 41 games for the club in 1976-77 then retired the next season after making once appearance for the New Have Nighthawks of the AHL.