The Rochester Americans are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Amerks Hall of Famer and hockey legend Dick Gamble. He was 89 years old.
“The entire Rochester Americans organization is deeply saddened by the loss of Dick Gamble,” said Amerks and American Hockey League Hall of Famer Jody Gage. “Dick was someone who helped bring the Rochester Americans to prominence in the AHL and was instrumental in building this great franchise. Dick was an Amerks and AHL Hall of Famer and a founding father who played with class and dignity. It was truly a great honor to have known Dick for all these years and I will always cherish his friendship. He will be dearly missed.”
Gamble’s career in Rochester spanned parts of nine seasons from 1961-70, a time during which the Amerks – and hockey for that matter – was relatively in its infancy. Gamble would quickly bring the franchise to prominence, however, transforming a cast of future Amerks legends and American Hockey League icons alike into a dynasty that would go onto win three Calder Cup championships over a four-year span. No other AHL team would ever match the feat.
The “Golden Years” would be a stepping stone for the Amerks and Gamble, who, thanks to a heavy shot and a true knack for scoring, catapulted himself to the top of the Amerks all-time scoring lists at the time of his induction into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1986. Gamble was one of eight charter members of the inaugural class, joining the likes of former teammates Bronco Horvath, Norm “Red” Armstrong, Al Arbour and Bobby Perreault.
"Dick Gamble will always be remembered as one of hockey's all-time greatest players and a legendary figure in both Buffalo and Rochester,” said American Hockey League President and CEO Dave Andrews. “The entire AHL offers its heartfelt condolences to Dick's family and to the Amerks organization."
At the time of his induction, Gamble was the club’s career leader in goals (300), points (565) and games played (569), all of which would later be surpassed by Gage. The Moncton, New Brunswick, native also finished his tenure in Rochester fifth all-time with 265 career assists.
Only once in his eight full seasons in Rochester did the sharp-shooting right wing ever fail to reach the 30-goal mark. His skills helped him to NHL stints with Montreal, Chicago and Toronto. In addition to a nine-year tour of duty as a player, Gamble also served the franchise as a coach during the era of Vancouver ownership in the late 1960s and early 70s as well as a brief three-year stint as the team’s general manager all while still playing the game.
Gamble’s finest year with the Amerks came in 1965-66 when he scored 47 goals and added a career-high 51 assists for 98 points (another career-high). For his efforts, the three-time AHL All-Star took the American Hockey League scoring championship and Most Valuable Player Trophy while helping the Amerks and Joe Crozier to their second consecutive Calder Cup title.
A 20-goal scorer in all eight seasons played in Rochester, Gamble still currently ranks fourth in AHL history with 468 goals and fifth with 892 points, respectively.
On March 19, 1999, Gamble and Gage had their No. 9 retired, joining Norm “Red” Armstrong as the only players in team history to receive that honor. The six-time postseason All-Star would later be inducted into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame in 2007.
In honor of Gamble, the Amerks will wear helmet decals for the remainder of the 2017-18 season and a commemorative patch will soon be added to their jerseys for all remaining home games. The patch features Gamble’s initials sitting above his iconic No. 9 adorned in the traditional Amerks red, white and blue colors. The three stars, outlined in white and blue, sit just below the No. 9, representing the three Calder Cup championships Gamble won with Rochester in 1965, 1966 and 1968. The predominantly red body of the patch pays homage to the early days of the franchise.
A special in-ice logo, mirroring that of the jersey patch, will also be placed behind both nets in the coming week for the remainder of the season.
Information on memorial services will be forthcoming.