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US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2006

Milton "Curley" Brink
Gary Gambucci
Mike Milbury

2006 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Milt graduated from Eveleth High School in 1930 where he starred for four years on the state high school championship hockey team.  During his senior year, Milt was driven by a music teacher to Duluth, MN on weekends where he worked out with the Duluth Hornets, then in the American Association.  After graduation, Milt spent the next sixteen years playing hockey, both professional and amateur.

A native of Hibbing, Manitoba, Milt had an eight-year professional hockey career, including a very short stint in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.
In 1931-32, Brink played five games with the Boston Cubs of the CAHL, scoring one goal. In 1932, he joined the Eveleth Rangers where he remained for the next three years. In 1933-34, he had the finest offensive output of his career, scoring 17 goals and 34 points.

By 1935-36, Brink joined the Kansas City Greyhounds of the AHA.  Milt was one of the teams leading scorers.  In 45 games he put together a nine-goal season with 29 points. Early the following year he was sent to the Minneapolis Millers and then had the chance to play in the NHL, starting five games with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1936-37 season, being held off the official scoresheet.

Brink joined the St. Paul Saints of the AHA in 1937-38, scoring 34 points on eight goals and 26 assists in 48 games. Milt led the team in scoring.  The team broke up the following year.  He suited up for five games with the Wichita Skyhawks the following year before retiring from professional hockey at the age of 28. 

2006 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Gary Gambucci comes from an Iron Range family rich in hockey tradition. His love of the game of hockey was passed down to him from his father, Elio, and his two uncles, Sergio and Andre. 

In the history of the University of Minnesota, only three first year players have led the Gophers in scoring, Gary being one of those scorers with 40 points (23g 17a) in the 1965-66 season.  

In Gary’s senior year, he was selected Captain, 1st Team All-America, WCHA All-Star Team, winner of the E.B. Pierce Alumni Award as the outstanding hockey player at the U of M, and was the first hockey player in history to be awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal emblematic of athletic and academic achievement. 

In 1966, Gary was drafted by the Montreal Canadians.  He lists playing right wing with the legendary Jean Beliveau as one of the greatest thrills of his career.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, namely the Vietnam War, Gary’s hockey career was put on hold as he entered the U.S. Army.  He subsequently played on his country’s U.S. National teams in 1969, 1970, 1971, and again in 1976.  In 1970, playing with the U.S. National team in Bucharest, Rumania, Gary was the world championships leading goal scorer and was also named to the All-World Team where in 13 games, Gary scored 14 goals and added 8 assists for 22 points.

The 1971 team comprised the nucleus of the 1972 Olympic team which won the silver medal in Sapporo, Japan. Gary was fortunate to have played with five members of that team who are all members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Prior to the 1972 Olympic Games, and at age 25, Gary signed a multi-year contract with the Minnesota North Stars, thus becoming the first born and bred Minnesotan to play with them.

In the summer of 1974, Gary signed a contract with the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association. After 1-1/2 years and tallying 61 pts.with the Saints, the team folded and after 5 years of pro hockey, Gary retired at age 30.

2006 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Through his intense dedication to the game and his teams, Massachusetts-born and raised Mike Milbury has forged a remarkable 35-year hockey career as a player, coach and general manager.

Milbury was recruited out of Walpole High School to play football and hockey at Colgate University, where he earned a degree in urban sociology. Considered early in his college hockey career to be a long shot for the pros, the 6-1 defenseman worked hard at every aspect of his game.  In his last two years at Colgate, he became a highly reliable defenseman in his own while also averaging a point a game (6 goals and 45 assist for 51 points in 51 games).

His steady improvement at Colgate earned Milbury a tryout with his beloved hometown Boston Bruins.  Catching the eyes of a tough head coach named Don Cherry, with his fierce commitment to team play; Milbury was signed to a contract with the Bruins on Nov. 5, 1974.

A two-year apprenticeship in the American Hockey League with the Rochester Bruins followed by a roster spot on Team USA in the inaugural Canada Cup, led to a permanent job on the blue line of the Bruins.  Milbury’s inclusion in the Bruins lineup in 1976 came at a time when there were less than a dozen American players in the National Hockey League.

Over the next eleven seasons, Milbury played 754 NHL regular season games and additional 111 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The rugged, often combative stay-at-home defenseman amassed 1,552 minutes in penalties, second only to Terry O’Reilly’s club record 2,095.  He had 49 goals and 189 assists in the regular season, 4 goals, 24 assists and 219 penalty minutes over his playoff career.  Milbury ranks 12th all-time in games played for the Bruins.

Following his playing career, Milbury became head coach of the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Maine on July 16, 1987.  In his first season, the Mariners captured the division title and Milbury was named AHL Coach of the Year and the Hockey News’ Minor Pro Coach of the Year.

Following two seasons with the Mariners, Milbury was promoted to head coach and assistant general manager of the Bruins on May 16, 1989.  In his two seasons at the helm, Milbury led his team to consecutive 100-point seasons and division titles.  In 1989-90, he was named Coach of the Year by The Hockey News and the Sporting News after leading his team to the President’s Trophy and a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.  The following season, the Bruins advanced to the conference final.  His coaching record in Boston ranks him as the organization’s most successful coach in the last quarter-century.

Milbury continued his more than two decades as a member of the Bruins’ organization as assistant GM to his mentor, legendary team architect Harry Sinden.  During his long career with the Bruins at all levels, his teams reached the Stanley Cup Final twice and never failed to qualify for the playoffs.

After a year as a studio commentator for ESPN, Milbury was named head coach of the New York Islanders on July 5, 1995.  Five months later, he became just the third general manager in Islanders history.

Following the 1995-96 and the 1996-97 NHL seasons, the Brighton, Massachusetts native proudly served as general manager of Team USA at the World Championships.  His 1995-96 team won the Bronze medal, marking the first time in 34 years that the U.S. had earned a medal at the Worlds.

Enduring years of ownership instability, Milbury was rewarded for his perseverance when Charles B. Wang not only purchased the Islanders but made a personal commitment to seeing the franchise thrive on Long Island. As a result, the Milbury-engineered Islanders of 2001-02 achieved the third greatest turnaround in NHL history.  The Islanders qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs three consecutive seasons from 2001-2004, becoming just one of six teams to do so during that span.

Over the course of his eleven years with the Islanders, Milbury mentored successful U.S. born coaches Peter Laviolette and Greg Cronin.  He also drafted or acquired standout American players such as Rick DiPietro, Jason Blake, Shawn Bates, Mark Parrish and Tim Connolly.

Seeking a new challenge to his career, Milbury stepped down as general manager at the end of the 2005-06 season to become Senior Vice President of Wang’s sports properties, including the Islanders, Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) and Islanders Iceworks--the team’s practice facility.  He will be a guiding force in the transformation of the Nassau Coliseum property into central destination on Long Island for sports, entertainment and business development.