• Marcus Bender

Doug Gilmour: Face Of A "Killer", Heart Of A Lion

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

#93 skates towards the penalty box, his jersey rippling with energy. He steps into the penalty box and slams the door. The glass shatters into thousands of pieces. Everyone freezes. A noticeable pall hangs over the arena. All eyes are on the man in the box.

He sits there amid the chaos, unfazed. He looks straight ahead and challenges anyone to bring him out of his zone. He sits alone in the glassless penalty box, debris shattered all around him. He is the calm in the eye of the hurricane.

He is hockey personified. He is Doug Gilmour.

It is in this moment we can see the existence of the hockey gods, albeit just a short glimpse. That glass didn’t shatter because the player slammed the door, no. That glass shattered because it also disagreed with the call. The hockey gods willed the glass to shatter.

The vehicle the hockey gods chose that night to express their outrage, was none other than "Killer". The one and only Doug Gilmour.

Nothing in the NHL, or about the game of hockey, would be the same without Doug Gilmour.

Doug Gilmour is everything we love about the game: Passionate, Defiant, Unrelenting, Graceful, Battle-Hardened, Underdog, Scarred, Determined.

His nickname “Killer” suits him only for his face.

A face “only a mother could love” became the face many of us loved, all across this country.

Whether Dougie was winning a Cup in Calgary, scoring a Double OT Winner in Toronto, or destroying penalty boxes in Montreal, he isn’t just a part of this game. He is also a part of this country.

The 1987 Canada Cup was the best team ever assembled, there is little debate. Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey. But people often forget about the blue collar diggers who could make this all happen. People often forget Doug Gilmour was on this team as well, fighting in the trenches. A legend buried on the third-line of a legendary team.

Because that's who Doug Gilmour is. And that is so much who we are as a country. An outcast. An underdog.

Perhaps the reason so many people in Canada love Doug Gilmour, is he reminds us of us.

Doug Gilmour has a heart like a lion. Lions are often associated with courage, a characteristic Gilmour has displayed throughout his career. Passed over on his first chance to be drafted, told at every level he was “too small”; Gilmour had any number of opportunities to call it quits, but he didn’t. He kept on fighting.

Just like the gritty role he plays on the ice, he fought hard in all his battles. He fought for every inch. He fought the critics and the nay sayers, and he came out on top. He is living proof the “little guy” can make it. He is living proof hard work and determination pays off.

Doug Gilmour weighed 140 pounds when he played in junior. 140 pounds! He was passed over by dozens of teams. He started out playing defense, but eventually switched to forward.

He went from:

“Too small to be a D”, to

"Okay, he's an offensive D”, to

"Defensive forward".

Doug has played every position and every aspect of the game, it's a surprise the coaches never asked him to play goalie. That's how versatile Doug Gilmour is.

Gilmour finally settled into his role of Defensive Forward, a role he played so well he won a Selke Trophy in 1993. Today, we know him now as one of the top Defensive Forwards in the history of the game, and it's one of the reasons he's in the Hall Of Fame today.

But it isn’t just defensive play which brought us to see Gilmour. 1,414 points in his 1,474 game career, three 100-points seasons, and eleven 20-goal seasons. 19th on the NHL all-time scoring list. We know what he can do to shut down other players. But we can also see how much he brings it in the offensive end.

Doug Gilmour is a clutch player through and through. Most of us alive at the time probably still remember Gilmour's Double OT spin-a-rama goal from behind the net against the Blues in '93. Thus began a glorious Cup Run, the first for the Leafs in nearly three decades, stopped short only by destiny and a man named Gretzky. But there is no denying Doug Gilmour brought the Leafs closer to a Cup more than any other player alive in the past 50 years.

His work for the Calgary Flames in the 1989 Playoffs is the stuff of Legends. Without Doug Gilmour, the Flames never win a Cup. Many of us may not remember all the way back that far, but the city of Calgary sure does.

This is how the city of Calgary remember Doug Gilmour: The Heart Of A Lion.

This is how the city of Toronto remembers Doug Gilmore: The Face Of A "Killer".

We all remember Doug Gilmour as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

Doug Gilmour: Face Of A "Killer", Heart Of A Lion. Here's to you.


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