Joseph Jean Gilles Tremblay - Born December 17, 1938 in Montmorency, Quebec – Died November 26, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec was a Canadian ice Hockey left winger.
A fast and skilled left-winger who played a strong two-way game and excelled at every level, Gilles Tremblay spent nine years in Montreal but his time in a Canadiens uniform began some years before his 1960-61 NHL debut. Suiting up for the Hull-Ottawa Junior Canadiens from 1956 to 1960, he was part of a team that Sam Pollock and Scotty Bowman took to a Memorial Cup Championship in the spring of 1958.
The next fall, Tremblay turned pro and kept his bleu-blanc-rouge sweater for two more years, remaining in the national capital before finally moving on to the NHL with the Canadiens.
He made his NHL debut in 1960-61 and carved out a spot on the Habs’ roster with his speed and ability to adapt to any situation. Tremblay scored seven goals in 45 games in his rookie campaign and six more in the playoffs. He stepped up when others fell to injury in his sophomore year, notching a career-high 32 goals while playing in every one of the 70 games on the schedule.
Four other seasons would come to an end with Tremblay managing to break the 20-goal benchmark despite spending an increasing amount of time shadowing the top right-wingers in the league. Able to skate and turn with them in close quarters, Tremblay shut down the big guns with brains rather than brawn.
His team ended a five-year playoff drought in 1964-65 but Tremblay missed out, recovering from a leg injury he suffered less than halfway through the season. He finally had his chance to sip from the Stanley Cup for the first time the following spring. Tremblay and the Habs repeated in 1967-68 and his name was engraved a third time following the 1968-69 championship.
While the team went all the way in 1969, Tremblay didn’t. His career came to a sudden end at the age of 33, when respiratory problems forced him to hang up his skates 44 games into the season.
In 509 regular season games, he scored 168 times and assisted on another 162 goals. His lifetime playoff record includes 23 points in 48 games.
Forced off the ice as a result of a severe asthmatic condition, Tremblay still remained in the game. Joining the media ranks at the outset of the 1970s, Tremblay became one of the first ex-players to get into the broadcasting field. Teamed with the legendary René Lecavalier, Tremblay learned from the best in the business and spent the next 27 years as part of the Saturday night broadcast team for “La Soirée du Hockey”.
In 2002, the broadcasting fraternity and the Hockey Hall of Fame took note of Tremblay’s long career behind the microphone and rewarded him with the Foster Hewitt Award.