Douglas Robert Gilmour (born June 25, 1963) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player who is the current general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). During his National Hockey League career, Gilmour played for 7 NHL clubs: the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens, serving as captain for Calgary, Toronto and Chicago. Gilmour won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward while with the Maple Leafs in 1993. He has been dubbed “Killer” for his physical play despite his small stature. Gilmour was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the class of 2011.
Minor hockey career
Gilmour grew up playing minor hockey in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario playing rep for the Kingston Legionnaires program of the OMHA’s Eastern Ontario Minor Hockey League. In 1979–80, Gilmour spent time with the local Kingston Voyageurs Jr.B. team before being signed by Floyd Crawford to play for the OHA Jr.A. Belleville Bobcats for their playoff run.
In the spring of 1980, Gilmour was selected in the 5th round of the OHL Priority Selection by the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL.
Junior hockey career
Gilmour began his junior hockey career in 1980–81 with the Cornwall Royals of the OHL in the 1980–81 season. Gilmour spent three seasons with the team, helping the Royals win consecutive Memorial Cup championships. Gilmour was injured during the 1981 championship run, but in the 1981–82 season, he returned and led the Royals in scoring with 46 goals and 119 total points. Gilmour was passed over during the National Hockey League Draft in his first year of eligibility, but in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues drafted him in the 7th round, 134th overall. Gilmour did not make the Blues squad for the 1982–83 season, and was returned to Cornwall. During this season, Gilmour earned the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the OHL’s leading scorer, totaling 70 goals and 107 assists for 177 total points. As a result, Gilmour was named the OHL’s Most Valuable Player. During that memorable season, Gilmour set a (then) league record, scoring in 55 consecutive games.
St. Louis Blues
Gilmour initially had difficulty reaching a contract with the Blues, who remained concerned that he was too small for the NHL game of the 1980s. Two weeks before the 1983–84 NHL season began, Gilmour and the Blues agreed on a contract and he joined the team in time for the start of the season. A rash of injuries and the trust of Blues coach Jaques Demers provided Gilmour with the opportunity to play as the team’s fourth line center, and he quickly became a defensive specialist. Teammate Brian Sutter nicknamed Gilmour “Killer” in part due to his on-ice intensity, but also because of Gilmour’s resemblance to convicted serial killer Charles Manson.
During his first three seasons with the Blues, Gilmour was a consistent defensive presence, averaging a solid 50 points a season. During the 1986 playoffs, Gilmour broke out and scored 21 points in 19 games, (tied with Bernie Federko’s 21 points in 19 games) as the Blues lost in the Campbell Conference finals.Gilmour’s dynamic two-way play lead him to becoming one of the only players in history to lead in post-season scoring without making it to the Stanley Cup Finals; Peter Forsberg would also achieve that feat in 1999 with the Colorado Avalanche.
Just prior to the 1988–89 season, Gilmour was traded to the Calgary Flames along with Mark Hunter, Steve Bozek, and Michael Dark for Mike Bullard, Craig Coxe and Tim Cokery. The Blues traded Gilmour after he was named in a civil suit alleging sexual improprieties with a minor. Gilmour denied that the incident occurred, and a grand jury did not find enough evidence to indict him. The Blues failed to admit publicly that the trade was a result of the pending lawsuit against Gilmour, but Gilmour was convinced it was the reason: “I didn’t want to leave St. Louis but from what has happened the past week, on our part and on the St. Louis Blues’ part, it was our best solution.”
The Blues hasty trade of Gilmour to the Calgary Flames after the 1987–88 season began to pay dividends for his new team almost immediately. With Calgary, Gilmour played a major role during the Flames’ march to the 1989 Stanley Cup championship. Before the decisive game six of the series, Gilmour kissed and shook hands with Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry for good luck; Cherry, who also hails from Kingston, affectionately called his favourite player “Dougie”. Gilmour scored two goals in Game 6 including the Stanley Cup winning goal against Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens to seal Calgary’s first (and only) Stanley Cup Championship.
Toronto Maple Leafs
On January 2, 1992, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher made a blockbuster trade with the Calgary Flames. Fletcher had served as Calgary’s general manager during the late 1980s before coming to Toronto, and had been responsible for compiling their 1989 championship team. The Leafs acquired Gilmour along with defensemen Jamie Macoun and Ric Nattress, prospect Kent Manderville and goaltender Rick Wamsley in exchange for underachieving Gary Leeman, Russian defenseman Alexander Godynyuk, goaltender Jeff Reese, defenseman Michel Petit and enforcer Craig Berube. The 10-player deal was the largest in NHL history.
Toronto fans did not have wait long for the Gilmour acquisition to pay off, as the feisty forward produced exceptionally well for the remainder of the 1991–92 season. The 1992–93 regular season, Gilmour’s first full season in Toronto, saw the diminutive superstar score a franchise-record 127 points. As a result of his breakout season, Gilmour was the runner-up for the Hart Trophy as regular-season MVP and was awarded the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward, the first major NHL award that a Maple Leaf player had won since 1967.
During the 1992–93 playoffs, Gilmour was the offensive and defensive catalyst as the Leafs eliminated the powerful Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, both in seven game series.
In the 1993 Campbell Conference Final, Gilmour’s Toronto Maple Leafs came face-to-face with Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings. With Toronto leading the series three games to two, many fans, including CBC’s Don Cherry, were hoping for an all-Canadian final as the Montreal Canadiens had already advanced to the championship series. However, during overtime of Game 6, Gretzky high-sticked Gilmour in the Toronto defensive zone, drawing blood. Referee, Kerry Fraser did not see the incident, so no penalty was assessed. Moments later, Gretzky scored the winning goal to stave off elimination. The Leafs lost Game 7 at Maple Leaf Gardens 5-4, with Wayne Gretzky scoring a hat-trick. The Kings moved on to meet Montreal in the finals. Gilmour finished the postseason with 35 points, second behind only Gretzky.
Gilmour finished the 1993–94 season fourth overall in regular-season scoring with 111 points, just one behind third-place finisher Adam Oates. Gilmour made his second consecutive trip to the NHL All-Star Game and finished as runner-up for the Selke Trophy. In the playoffs, Gilmour once again led his Leafs to the Western Conference Final (formerly Clarence Campbell Conference), where they fell to the Vancouver Canucks in five games.
When the Leafs traded captain and fan favourite Wendel Clark to the Quebec Nordiques in the off-season of 1994, Gilmour was named team captain in a ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto where former Leafs captain Red Horner presented him with the Leafs “C.”
During the 1994 National Hockey League lockout, Gilmour decided to play in a handful of games for the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of the Swiss League. However, Gilmour’s physical style did not suit him well in the Swiss League. As a result, Gilmour decided join Wayne Gretzky’s all-star hockey tour that was making its way through Europe. Gilmour also took part in the NHLPA’s Four-on-Four tournament at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario where his Team Ontario defeated Team Quebec in the championship game.
Gilmour was one of the most popular players on the Leafs during his tenure. He was a spokesman for the NHLPA in community and charity events, and also appeared in a series of “Got Milk?” TV commercials, one which featured his then wife Amy.
New Jersey Devils
With the Leafs once again struggling to compete on a nightly basis, Cliff Fletcher was forced to trade Gilmour and defenseman Dave Ellett to the New Jersey Devils (although Gilmour’s first choice was the Florida Panthers) in 1997 for centerman Steve Sullivan, prospect Alyn McCauley and defenseman Jason Smith. The Devils during Gilmour’s tenure would suffer early playoff exits.
In the summer of 1998, Doug Gilmour signed as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago had fallen on hard times and Gilmour was brought in to help resurrect the franchise. Chicago was situated at the bottom half of the standings during Gilmour’s tenure, ultimately culminating with captain Chris Chelios requesting a trade to the Detroit Red Wings, and Gilmour assuming the team captaincy.
In a twist of fate, Gilmour’s Blackhawks faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 13, 1999 as the last game in historic Maple Leaf Gardens was played. Gilmour ended up scoring in that game and in the closing ceremonies, he was given a standing ovation by the Toronto fans. Gilmour suffered a back injury (herniated disk) late in the season and had to undergo season-ending surgery.
In the spring of 2000, with the Blackhawks once again floundering among the bottom of the NHL, Gilmour was traded to the Buffalo Sabres along with left winger J.P. Dumont for forward Michael Grosek. Gilmour helped the Sabres, which had been Stanley Cup finalists the season before, make the playoffs. However the Sabres were defeated in five games by the Philadelphia Flyers.
In 2000–01, injuries limited Gilmour’s regular season stats but had respectable playoff performance as the rejuvenated Sabres defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the Quarterfinal Round of the NHL playoffs. The Sabres were subsequently upset by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a tough second-round series.
Gilmour, having entertained thoughts of retirement after a fruitless season and a half in Buffalo, finally decided to sign as a free agent in 2001 with the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens would make the playoffs that season, eventually being dispatched by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Return to Toronto
Once again, rumours began to float around the National Hockey League that Gilmour was considering retirement. The 2003 NHL trade deadline brought good news for Toronto fans: the Canadiens traded Gilmour to the Maple Leafs for a sixth round draft pick. Gilmour’s first game with the Leafs turned out to be his last as he and the Calgary Flames Dave Lowry collided inadvertently during Gilmour’s second shift, resulting in a torn ACL for Gilmour. He missed the remainder of the season. Gilmour officially announced his retirement on September 8, 2003 after John Ferguson, Jr. made a public announcement that the Maple Leafs would not re-sign the veteran center.
Gilmour scored 450 goals and 964 assists in 1474 games in his NHL career.
On January 31, 2009 Gilmour’s number 93 was honoured by the Toronto Maple Leafs as it was raised to rafters at the Air Canada Centre. Gilmour became the seventeenth player to be honoured in such a way by the Maple Leafs. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
Toronto Maple Leafs/ Toronto Marlies (AHL)
On September 15, 2006, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that Gilmour would become their player development advisor. Gilmour held that position with the Leafs until August 7, 2008, when the Maple Leafs announced that Gilmour would join the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs AHL affiliate, as an assistant coach under Marlies head coach Greg Gilbert.
Gilmour would remain in that position for only a few short months, as on November 17, 2008, he announced that he was leaving the Maple Leafs organization to become the head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL.
Gilmour (while head coach of the Frontenacs) with a sportswriter in Oshawa.
Gilmour was named head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs on November 17, 2008, taking over a rebuilding club that had a 5–13–5 record under Larry Mavety, who had coached Gilmour with the Belleville Bulls when the Bulls were still in the OPJHL. Gilmour finished out the season with Kingston with a 13–27–5 record in their last 45 games and the team failed to make the playoffs.
In his first full season with the club in 2009–10, Gilmour helped guide the team back into the OHL playoffs, as Kingston recorded a 33–30–5 record, earning 71 points, good enough for second place in the OHL’s East Division, and fourth place in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. The Frontenacs faced the Brampton Battalion in the first round of the playoffs, which Brampton won in seven games. After the season, Gilmour signed to a five year contract extension with the Frontenacs.
In 2010–11, the Frontenacs slipped under the .500 level during the regular season, going 29–30–9, earning 67 points; however, they made the playoffs. In their first round matchup against the Oshawa Generals, Kingston struggled and the Generals eliminated them in five games. At the conclusion of the season, Gilmour left the Frontenacs’ head coaching position to become the team’s General Manager, replacing good friend Larry Mavety, who became an advisor to the club. Former Maple Leafs teammate Todd Gill was selected to replace Gilmour behind the Front’s bench.
Gilmour has been married 3 times and has 4 children. His daughter Madison is from his first marriage to Robin Gilmour; sons Jake and Tyson from his second marriage to Amy Gilmour; and daughter Victoria with his current wife, Sonja Gilmour. Tyson Gilmour is a promising young hockey player with the Don Mills Flyers organization.
Awards and achievements
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- 1982–83: OHL – Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player)
- 1982–83: OHL – Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (Leading Scorer)
- 1982–83: OHL – First All-Star Team
- 1988–89: NHL – Won Stanley Cup championship with the Calgary Flames
- 1992–93: NHL – Nominated for Hart Trophy (League MVP)
- 1992–93: NHL – Frank J. Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)
- 1992–93: NHL – Played in All-Star Game
- 1993–94: NHL – Played in All-Star Game
- 2006–07: FCHL – Had division named in his honour
- 2011 Inducted into Hockey Hall of fame