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Gilbert's legendary love for Rangers, New York to endure after his death – NHL.com

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For Mr. Ranger, whose death at age 80 was announced by the New York Rangers on Sunday, his first thunderous brush with Detroit Red Wings icon Gordie Howe forever was magical.

“My second game in the NHL, 1961-62 at the Detroit Olympia,” Gilbert recalled at an NHL Alumni gala a few years ago. “I’d heard the legend of Gordie’s elbows, but I’m not even a rookie. He doesn’t have a beef with me, right?

Rod Gilbert in an early 1960s New York Rangers portrait, and with the team during his 1970s prime.

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 “Never saw Gordie, or his elbow. I’m waking up on the ice to ammonia and smelling salts, seeing the lights in the ceiling, and as I’m being helped off, the linesman skates by and almost whispers to me, ‘It was No. 9 …’

“I figure, ‘OK, I’ll pick my spot and get my revenge.’ We played in the League together for nine years, but it just never happened.”

More than four decades later, Gilbert and Howe were at a banquet at the 2004 NHL All-Star Game, at different tables, and Gilbert was regaling fellow diners with the story.

“What I want,” he told his audience, “is to live long enough to visit Gordie in his retirement home, come up behind him in his wheelchair, dump him on the floor, walk away, and have one of the nurses lean down to him and say, ‘It was No. 7 …'” 

New York Rangers famous line of Rod Gilbert (left), Jean Ratelle (center) and Vic Hadfield at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 2, 2018, for Hadfield’s jersey retirement.

Laughs all around until the following morning, when Mr. Hockey saw Mr. Ranger at breakfast and wandered over wearing a look of purpose.

“Did I ever get you, Rod?” he said.

“Gordie, who did you not get? You got everyone,” Gilbert replied.

“Are we OK?”

Gilbert, now squirming a bit: “Sure we are. Why do you ask?”

“I just wonder why you’d want to dump me out of my wheelchair in a nursing home. Do you still intend to get me back?”

Gilbert grinned.

“Not yet,” he replied, two old friends laughing.

A young Rod Gilbert chases Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Al Arbour behind the net at Madison Square Garden in the mid-1960s.

This was one in an encyclopedia of stories that Gilbert had filed away from his remarkable career with the Rangers, the team that for 18 Hall of Fame-bound seasons was his only NHL address.

The only other jersey he wore in major professional hockey — he had a short stint in the minor pros — was that of Canada, for whom he played in the historic eight-game 1972 Summit Series against an all-star team of Russia players.

From his hometown of Montreal, Gilbert would find his way to fame and fortune in New York via the Rangers’ junior system in Guelph, Ontario, he and fellow future New York legend Jean Ratelle developed by coach Emile Francis. There has been no one in team history who better embodied what it was to be a Ranger than Gilbert, no one who loved the franchise quite as much.

It was a triumph that he could lace his skates, much less play 1,065 games and set team records for goals (406) and points (1,065), all of which stand 44 years since his final game, on Nov. 23, 1977.

Rod Gilbert in pursuit of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bobby Baun during a 1970s game.

Twice Gilbert confounded doctors by returning to play following major back surgeries.

“I’m lucky Gordie didn’t dump me out of my wheelchair,” Gilbert joked.

The first in 1961, during Gilbert’s junior career, required spinal fusion to repair an injury sustained when he stepped on debris thrown onto the ice. The operation was performed only after he’d been in traction for 10 days for what was believed to be a pulled muscle.

The fusion didn’t go according to plan, and an infection in his left leg left him hospitalized for two months. But Gilbert recovered and from 1962-65 he played three consecutive 70-game seasons for the Rangers, scoring 11, 24 and 25 goals.

Rod Gilbert with the New York Rangers in the 1970s, and with Team Canada for the 1972 Summit Series.

He re-injured his back in the fall of 1965 while pulling a boat out of the water. A second spinal fusion was done after Gilbert no longer could play, having skated 34 games that 1965-66 season wearing a steel-ribbed back brace.

There were complications from the second surgery too, during which a bone from his pelvis was used to fuse three vertebrae. Infection set in and he nearly died when he lapsed into unconsciousness for several minutes, choking on medication that had lodged in his throat.

Not only did Gilbert return from that, he showed tremendous durability, scoring 25 or more goals in 10 of his next 11 seasons, with a career high of 43 in 1971-72.

In retirement, Gilbert championed myriad worthy causes and waded into the spotlight of New York, his thousand-watt personality a Manhattan beacon. He admitted that it was a bit selfish, the embrace of his city and Rangers fans as important to him as was his ability to raise funds and awareness for charities.

Rod Gilbert camps in front of Toronto goalie Jacques Plante during an early 1970s game.

Indeed, the Rangers were his lifeblood. Gilbert adored his teammates, especially Goal-A-Game (G-A-G) linemates Ratelle and Vic Hadfield. Reached on Sunday night, Hadfield was shattered, unable to speak about his late friend.

Gilbert, whose No. 7 became the first jersey retired by the Rangers in 1979, was bursting with pride when Ratelle’s No. 19 and Hadfield’s No. 11 joined him 10 months apart in 2018. It was on Madison Square Garden ice, during Ratelle’s ceremony, that Gilbert announced that Hadfield’s would join them the following season, the rugged winger reduced to tears.

At every turn, Gilbert promoted the Rangers brand and history as a team ambassador, community relations representative, the locomotive for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the Rangers’ director of special projects.

The coronavirus pandemic, he said 16 months ago, shoved a stick in the spokes of a free-wheeling man who genuinely loved people.

Rod Gilbert’s charity endeavors involved work with Ronald McDonald House. Here, in 2019, with two children for the 25th Annual Skate With The Greats at The Rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

“For a social guy like me, distancing has been pretty tough,” Gilbert said, his mingling with fans reduced to Zoom chats and phone calls with season-ticket holders. “I love to yak and shake hands and hug and tell the fans how much I appreciate them. Not being able to do this is a little depressing, to tell you the truth. I love to socialize with fans. They’re my family, actually.”

A month into the pandemic, Gilbert expressed his awe for the work being done by New York’s front-line workers by saluting them from the 33rd-floor Upper East Side apartment he shared with his wife, Judy.

Every night at 7 p.m., beginning in April 2020 and continuing for some months, he would go out onto his balcony with a wooden stick. And then for a few moments he would bang his Sher-Wood on the metal railing, tapping out his thanks to New York’s health-care professionals and countless others who were working at great personal risk to protect and serve the population.

Gilbert would have hollered his appreciation to accompany the percussion of his stick, but it probably wouldn’t have been heard over Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” that he had blaring in the background.

Rod Gilbert and his wife, Judy, attend the National Meningitis Association’s Give Kids A Shot gala at the New York Athletic Club on April 28, 2014, in New York City.

He had long ago found his place, happiest in the public eye, delighted to dig into his encyclopedia of stories, always finding something for the occasion. The word “no” wasn’t in his vocabulary, and everyone who wanted to bask in his glow knew it.

In Gilbert’s youth he worshipped Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, one of the greatest ambassadors hockey ever has known. It was from that cloth that Gilbert would cut his own fine suits.

“I feel like I’m a bit of a statesman now, a little like Jean was,” Gilbert reflected a few years ago.

“Every morning I open my eyes and say that life is for the living. You’re going to go out there and not get upset or create turmoil. Be peaceful and don’t allow anyone to break that. Be happy with your production and be of service to people.”

Photos: Hockey Hall of Fame / Getty Images

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A Look At Today’s Best Live Dealer Online Casino Games

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Online Casino Games

Some of the most popular games you can play at fully licensed online casinos today are live dealer games, such as Live Dealer Roulette, Live Dealer Blackjack, TV Game Show-themed live dealer games, and Live Dealer Slots. Here is a closer look at some of the best live dealer games from three leading software providers – Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, and OnAir Entertainment.

All of these state-of-the-art live dealer games are now available to play in the real money mode at a fully licensed online casino called Lucky Spins Canada, which is free to sign up to and is currently offering all new Canadian players up to 500 FREE SPINS for Play’n GO’s iconic Book of Dead online slot, plus a 100% matching deposit bonus worth up to C$500.

Top 10 Live Dealer Games in the Spotlight

Here are ten of the best live dealer casino games that you must check out. These games have wide betting ranges that cater to low rollers and high rollers alike (and pretty much all other betting ranges in between low rollers and high rollers), and you can often play one round/hand/spin from as little as C$0.10 to C$0.50 up to C$1,000.00 or more.

The top ten live dealer games from Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, OnAir Entertainment, Betgames.tv, Ezugi, and eBET that you must check out include the following mixture of live table & card games, live slots, and television game show live dealer games:

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  • Live PowerUp Roulette from Pragmatic Play
  • Live Andar Bahar from Ezugi
  • Live Teen Patti from Ezugi
  • Live XXXtreme Lightning Roulette from Evolution Gaming
  • Live Crazy Coin Flip from Evolution Gaming
  • MONOPOLY Live from Evolution Gaming
  • Live Wheel of Fortune from Betgames.tv
  • Live Airwave Roulette from OnAir Entertainment
  • Live Black Sports Arena from OnAir Entertainment
  • Bet On Poker Live from Betgames.tv

How old do I have to be to play live casino games?

To play live dealer games at online casinos, such as Lucky Spins, you generally need to be at least 18 years old. However, always check because, in some regions where online gambling is legal, it could be 21 or 20 years old.

What devices can I play live dealer games from?

You can play live dealer games from all of the providers mentioned above using either a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Just make sure that it has decent Wi-Fi or internet connectivity. Most games can be launched instantly in your web browser, plus you also generally have the option to download and install a free casino app directly onto your smartphone or tablet and then play from within the secure app.

What to remember when playing for real money

When playing for real money, don’t forget to set deposit limits where possible. Don’t ever chase your losses because it may result in you losing even more money, and don’t gamble just for the sake of it. Try and have fun, and always remember to gamble responsibly. Gambling is meant to be fun, so if you aren’t having fun anymore, it might be a good idea to take a break from gambling for a while.

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Gambling in Ireland vs. Canada

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Regulation of Online Gambling in Ontario: The Fight Against Black-Market Operators Continues

Gambling has traditionally played a significant role in Irish society. Naturally, the advancement of technology has changed how Irish gamblers conduct their business. Because of cell phones, placing bets is now simpler than ever (You could check here for a few trustworthy ones). However, Irish individuals must be cognizant of the country’s licensing laws.

Irish gamers can wager on bingo, lotteries, casino games, poker, sports, and more about the regulated and licensed gambling websites, making internet gambling in Ireland a multi-million-dollar business. This is not so dissimilar from the humongous gambling industry in Canada. For the past couple of years, gambling practices have been on the rise in Canada. So in today’s article, we’ll be looking at how gambling has fared in Ireland vs. Canada.

 

Ireland

According to the most recent statistics from Ireland from 2022, approximately half of the Irish population (49%) partakes in gambling, while its estimated prevalence for gambling addiction is 0.3%, meaning there are 12,000 problem gamblers in Ireland. Since only a small percentage of those with an issue with betting seek treatment, there is a need to try and understand Irish gambling behavior and treatment adoption.

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According to industry statistics, Irish gamblers ended up losing over €1.36 billion the year before last, or around €300 on average for every person, ranking them as the fourth-largest gamblers throughout the EU. According to industry researchers H2 Gambling Capital, Ireland places 14th internationally for the biggest median gambling losses, comfortably ahead of the UK but behind Sweden (€325 per adult), Malta (€334), and Finland (€342).

Revenue rose €51.9 million in conventional betting duty revenues and €40.6 million in online betting receipts in 2019, almost twice as much as the corresponding amounts from the preceding year ($28.9 million & €21.7 million, respectively). Sports betting is the most well-liked online form of gambling, comprising over 41% of the industry and bringing in €10 billion in 2019, claims the European Gaming and Betting Association.

Instead of using desktop computers, over 44% of all internet wagers are placed from a phone or tablet. By 2025, it is anticipated that approximately 6 out of 10 online wagers will be placed using mobile devices. Despite representing just 1.1% of the total population, Ireland generates 2.6% of Europe’s online gambling market in terms of revenue, according to the H2 data.

 

 

Canada

Like many other nations, Canada has a large gambling industry. The majority of gamblers don’t suffer any consequences, but a small percentage will. The number of gambling options in Canada has grown over the years, and new gambling innovations like online poker & sports betting have increased the significance of more thorough and ongoing oversight.

A study used information from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) to assess gambling and gambling-related issues among adults aged 15 and over. Those who may be at risk of developing a problem with gambling are identified using a Problem Gambling Index. This evaluates problem gambling behavior and the effects of that behavior on the individual or others.

Of the 18.9 million Canadians aged 15 and over, nearly two-thirds (64.5%) reported betting in the previous year, & 1.6% of those gamblers were exposed to a substantial risk of gambling-related issues. Men were more prone than women to file gambling in the previous year across all age categories. Additionally, men were more likely to have a relatively high risk of developing gambling-related issues.

Though they were more prone to developing gambling problems, people in lower social households were less inclined to wager than those of relatively high-earning households.

 

For instance,

 

  • 1% of Canadians at significantly higher risk for gambling issues were among the 71.5% of those living in higher-earning households who reported betting in the last year.
  • 8% of people from low-income families gambled in the preceding year, and 2.7% of them were at moderate to high risk for developing gambling addictions.

 

The likelihood of gambling-related issues rose with the quantity of casino games played.

In the multivariate analyses, the majority of factors, such as engaging in various gambling activities, living single (or separated or divorced), being unmarried, and possessing poor or fair mental well-being, remained independently related to gambling problems.

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Canada Soccer has hit the big time with coach John Herdman

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John Herdman, Head Coach of Canada, reacts during a press conference at the Main Media Center on Nov. 30, during the World Cup in Doha, Qatar.Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

In every team’s final news conference at a World Cup, it’s tradition to ask the head coach if he plans to stick around.

Someone threw it up at Canadian national men’s coach John Herdman following this country’s measured success in Qatar.

Herdman gave a meandering answer of 1 minute 15 seconds that ended this way: “[Belgian assistant coach] Thierry Henry told me this team played [Belgium] off the park. I’ll take that. Because if that’s our foundation? We’ve got a great four years ahead, and I can’t wait to get after it.”

Though that reply didn’t contain the crucial word, people took it for a “yes.” Because what else would it be?

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Few coaches in the world have a gig this sweet. Herdman is such a big fish in Canada’s soccer pond that he essentially runs the program. He’s got a guaranteed spotlight in the next World Cup, which Canada will be in by virtue of being a co-host. He’s still young (47), says he loves living here and is signed for the long term.

Maybe he’d like to coach at a sexier program in Europe. Wouldn’t anyone in his position?

But with that caveat, from the outside looking in, Canada is a great job. It wasn’t always, but Herdman (with a major assist from Alphonso Davies’s parents) turned it into one.

Which makes it curious that reports out of New Zealand on Wednesday claimed that Herdman was about to be appointed the coach of that country’s men’s national team.

In a report from the NewsHub network, Herdman was described as “the clear top pick” for the job. To hear this story tell it, it was just a matter of fussing with details.

Canada is the 53rd-ranked team in the world and on the rise. New Zealand is 105th and just barely treading water. New Zealand is Canada 10 years ago, and not in a fun, preinflation sort of way.

A complicating factor – Herdman’s son, Jay, plays for New Zealand’s under-19 national team. An even more complicated one – money. Some people love their job, but everyone loves money.

That said, judged from the perspective of social capital, the New Zealand job is not a promotion. It’s not even a lateral move. It’s trading the big leagues for the bush leagues.

So what’s going on? Does Herdman want out of Canada? And if so, why? Does he want more money? Is he a secret Lord of the Rings superfan?

This is what happens when a story like this is loosed into the world and not recaptured immediately – people begin to wonder all sorts of fantastical things.

As usual, whenever a story about it is breaking, Canada Soccer was caught in a blank stare on Wednesday morning. It wasn’t until early afternoon that an official denial was put together.

Three people commented in that statement – Herdman, Canada Soccer general secretary Earl Cochrane and Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis.

Bontis affirmed the “full confidence” of the board in Herdman, which is weird. He just took Canada to its first World Cup in 40 years. Why wouldn’t the board have confidence in him?

Cochrane noted first and foremost that Herdman is under contract until after the 2026 World Cup, which is also weird. That’s not news.

Herdman was unequivocal: “I’m not going anywhere.” But he also felt the need to mention that he’s got “several offers” recently, including one from New Zealand, which is super weird. If you’re happy where you are, why do so many people think you aren’t? And why do you feel the need to share that information?

Another oddity – no one mentioned anything about the story out of New Zealand being wrong. Actually, none of them mentioned the story at all.

If there were no truth to any of this, all that was required was a straight denial. That should have taken 15 minutes to put together.

Instead, it took hours to wrangle all the top decision-makers at Canada Soccer to patch up a complex, interwoven, multiperson denial. That has the whiff of an organization protesting o’ermuch.

So no fire, but plenty of smoke and lots of time left to sit around doing a paranoid arson investigation.

Nothing has come of this little fizzle, but something’s coming. That’s how this works. Not always, but often enough to make it a rule. It’s just a matter of figuring when, where, who and how it can hurt the most.

Can the Canadian men’s program survive without Herdman? Of course it can. Every graveyard is full of indispensable men, but none are as chock-a-block as the crypts of sports. Herdman’s done the hard work of stitching the Canadian team into a unit. All the next person has to do is hold that group together until 2026.

A better question is can the men’s team thrive if we’re going to spend the next three years trying to figure out when John Herdman is leaving, and where he’s going, and who’s to blame for that, and what does Alphonso Davies think about that, and why is Canada Soccer always like this, and exactly how long is a regulation pitchfork?

Those questions are a lot more interesting, and the people who care about them – it’s a small group, but it’s growing – will spill barrels of virtual ink interrogating them.

Uncertainty is an enemy of successful sports organizations, and intrigue is its accelerant. From player strikes to spats over pay to people rubbishing the organization after they’ve left, Canada Soccer has always had these twin weaknesses much worse than most. The difference is that now people have started paying attention.

At the very least, making the World Cup in Qatar was supposed to graduate Canada out of this high school state of affairs. Canada was a big-timer now, with a big-time coach with big-time plans. Well, I hope Canada Soccer is happy. Because now it has a big-time HR headache, and shouting at people that you feel fine, fine, totally fine is not going to make them believe you.

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