Richard Frank "Dick" Gamble - Born November 16, 1928 in Moncton, New Brunswick – Died March 22, 2018 in Rochester, New York was a Canadian/American ice Hockey left winger and coach.
Gamble played his first junior Hockey for the Moncton Bruins in the New Brunswick Junior Hockey League, helping Moncton win the New Brunswick championship and the Maritimes junior championship in 1945.
Gamble played another season in the Maritimes before joining the Oshawa Generals on the recommendation of Eddie Drillon, who was also from Moncton. Gamble played in Oshawa for 3 seasons, improving each year with his scoring - 15 goals, 31 goals and 39 goals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, who held his NHL rights, felt he was too small to be of use. Instead, Punch Imlach brought Gamble to the Quebec Aces for the start of the 1949-50 season, scoring 20 goals, 25 assists. The next season, Gamble scored a amazing 46 goals, 34 assists in 58 games, and 10 goals, 8 assists in the playoffs, as the Aces finished second in the league. Gamble was also a First Team All-Star in 1951.
Montreal Canadiens Dick Irvin, Sr. took notice and signed Gamble as a free agent on September 24, 1951. Gamble responded by scoring 23 goals, 17 assists in 64 games. The stellar performance was overshadowed by three other superb rookies Montreal added that season in Dollard St. Laurent, Dickie Moore and Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion, who won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
The following season the Canadiens finished in second place in the regular season. They eliminated the fourth-place Chicago Black Hawks in a seven-game semi-final series with Gamble scoring the game-winning goal in a 4-3 comeback in Game 2. Despite his heroics, the left winger was benched by coach Dick Irvin Sr. in the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins, who were defeated in five games, earning Gamble a place on the 1953 Stanley Cup despite having watched the victory in street clothes. Gamble also played in the 1953 NHL All-Star Game.
Gamble split the next season between the Canadiens and the Quebec Hockey League Montreal Royals.
Gamble was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks by for Bill Shevtz and cash with Montreal holding right of recall, October 9, 1954, where Gamble played just 14 games for the Black Hawks before he was returned to Montreal by Chicago, November 23, 1954, and finished the season with the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League / AHL. Gamble played very well in Buffalo, scoring 38 goals, 21 assists, and 4 goals, 4 assists in the playoffs, as the Bisons made it to the Calder Cup championship finals, losing in 6 games.
Gamble started to the 1955-56 season with the Canadiens, but after 12 games, was sent to the Quebec Aces, where he scored 23 goals, 24 assists during the season. Gamble had a strong 1956-57 season with the Aces, scoring 35 goals, 14 assists in the regular season, then scored 4 goals, 4 assists in the playoffs, as the Aces won the 1957 Thomas O'Connell Memorial Trophy as champions of the Quebec Hockey League. The Aces then went and challenged for the Edinburgh Trophy versus the Western Hockey League champions. Gamble scored 3 goals, 2 assists, as the Aces defeated the Brandon Regals for the 1957 Edinburgh Trophy championship in 6 games.
Gamble was then traded to the AHL Buffalo by Montreal for cash, July, 1957, where he played for the next 4 seasons. Gamble helped the Bisons reach the 1959 Calder Cup finals. Gamble was also on the 1961 AHL First All-Star Team.
Gamble was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs by Buffalo for Dave Creighton, July, 1961, and would play for their affiliate, the Rochester Americans for the next 8 seasons.
Gamble would become a legend in Rochester, and would record seasons of 39, 35, 34, 48, 47 and 46 goals for the Americans. The prolific and durable scorer, who rarely missed a game, won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as AHL leading scorer with 47 goals and 98 points in 71 games in the 1965-66 season, also earning honours as the league’s most valuable player, winning the 1966 Les Cunningham Award, and being named to the 1966 AHL First All-Star Team.
Rochester would win the Calder Cup championship in 1965, 1966 and 1968, while also making it to the 1967 final. They are the only team in AHL history to appear in the Calder Cup finals in four consecutive seasons. Gamble would be a big part of these teams.
Gamble became the playing coach of the Americans, and after scoring just one goal in eight games to start the 1969-70 season, hung up his skates to coach full time. Gamble added the General Manager position to his duties, but was fired from the club in 1971.
Gamble's 892 points in 898 AHL games remains the fifth-best in league history.
Dick Gamble was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame at Fredericton in 1984.
His name was added to the Moncton Wall of Fame in 1986.
Dick Gamble was inducted into the Rochester Americans Hall of Fame in 1986.
Dick Gamble was inducted into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame in 2007.
The Rochester Americans retired his jersey No. 9 in 1999.
Michael McKinley’s 2006 book Hockey: A People’s History revealed that Dick Gamble was the model for the 1950s Eagle Toys table top Hockey player in the Forward and defencemen position. They just changed his hair color for different teams.
Rare photo of Gamble in a Maple Leafs jersey, as he only played 3 NHL games for Toronto.