Gilles Meloche was a talented netminder who appeared in nearly 800 games during the 1970s and '80s. He was a true workhorse who saw action in at least 40 games 13 times in his career. His best years came with the strong Minnesota North Stars clubs in the early '80s.
The Montreal native was selected 70th overall by the Chicago Black Hawks at the 1970 Amateur Draft after a solid junior career with the Verdun Junior Maple Leafs. After starring in 45 games for the Leafs in 1969-70, he was named to the QJHL's first all-star squad. Meloche spent most of the 1970-71 season with the IHL's Flint Generals but had little hope of playing for the parent club who had Tony Esposito and Gary Smith between the pipes.
The young backstopper welcomed the trade that brought him to the defensively weak California Golden Seals. During the 1971-72 season, he created a stir by registering four shutouts and a 3.33 goals against average. He continued to provide goaltending heroics for the next few years including the franchise's two-year relocation to Cleveland.
Following the Barons' merge with the Minnesota North Stars, Meloche started to experience winning. In 1979-80, he backstopped the club to 27 wins and led them to a quarterfinals victory over the Montreal Canadiens which ended their four-Cup dynasty. The next year, he combined with youngster Don Beaupre to form one of the best goalkeeping tandems in the league. Meloche took part in the NHL All-Star Game and won eight playoff games during Minnesota's run to the finals.
Meloche continued to work his share of games for the North Stars through the 1984-85 season. In 1982, he won a bronze medal when he represented Canada at the World Championships and helped Minnesota reach the semi-finals in 1984. He played his last three years with the Pittsburgh Penguins before retiring in 1988.