Inducted November 3, 2001
While rubbing shoulders with Gordie Howe, Bob Baun, Carl Brewer and others, Brian Gibbons lived an experience that only a very few have a chance to equal. Brian had the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League.
Brian’s hockey life started in St. John’s in 1953. In 1965, with hopes of playing hockey at the professional level, Brian left Newfoundland for a tryout with the Hamilton Red Wings of the Ontario Hockey League. Some of his competitors were such greats as Serge Savard, Jacques Lemaire and Guy Lapointe. In 1968, Brian’s big wish came to fruition when he signed a professional contract with the Detroit Red Wings. His first year was spent with Forth Worth of the Central Professional Hockey League. During that same year he also spent some time with a Detroit team in San Diego, which featured another Newfoundlander – Alex Faulkner. While Brian’s stay with this team wasn’t permanent, he ended the season playing for the Denver franchise, and finished third in voting for “Rookie of the Year” honours. During the 1969-70 hockey season, Brian was once again at the Detroit Red Wings training camp and had the opportunity to play in a number of pre-season exhibition games. One of Brian’s big thrills was the chance to play on the same ice as Gordie Howe. At the start of the regular season, Brian was once again sent to Detroit’s minor system, but later he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Brian played the 1970-71 season with Kings American Hockey League team in Springfield. During this hockey season he helped the Kings win the Calder Trophy as league champions and was voted the teams “Unsung Hero” by the fans. With the creation of the World Hockey Association in 1972, Brian joined the Ottawa Nationals and had one of his best years of hockey to date. He scored 42 points to lead all defensemen on his team. This team moved to Toronto the following year and became the Toronto Toros. The Toros finished the season in second place. The Toros team brochure gives Brian the credit of having scored the most points as a defenseman during the 1972-73 season. When Brian’s contract expired at the end of the 1973-74 season, he moved on to Tucson of the CHL for the 1974-75 season and subsequently moved back to St. John’s at the conclusion of the hockey season.
Upon returning to Newfoundland, Brian Gibbons continued to play hockey for the St. John’s Capitals in the provincial senior hockey league. He played with this team from 1975-79, while winning the Herder Trophy in 1975-76. In conclusion, it is safe to say that Brian Gibbons had a remarkable hockey career that is comparable with other great athletes.