In 1973 Gainey was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens as a first pick, eighth overall, and joined the team for the 1973-74 season. Two years after, he celebrated his first Stanley Cup victory.
With Scottie Bowman behind the bench, the team would win four consecutive cups starting with the 1975-76 season, and six between 1970 and 1979.
Gainey succeeded to Serge Savard as the Captain of the Montreal Canadiens in 1981. He won his fifth Stanly Cup ring five years later.
Retiring from the game in 1989, he gave the reins to long-time teammate Guy Carbonneau, who joined the team in 1982.
In 1,160 games he had 501 points.
From 1977 to 1981 he was the recipient of the Frank J. Selke Trophy. This honour is awarded to the forward who has the most defensive abilities. It is named after the former Canadiens GM, Frank J. Selke who won the cup in 1953 with players such as Maurice Richard and Jacques Plante in his lineup.
After retiring, Gainey moved to France to coach hockey. He went back one year after to coach the Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars) under former Philadelphia Flyers Bobby Clarke as General Manager. Bob Gainey would eventually succeed to Clarke and get his first Stanley Cup as a GM in 1999, with Guy Carbonneau in his roster.
He rejoined the Montreal Canadiens in 2003 as General Manager. His contract has been extended to the 2009-10 season.
In January 2006, unsatisfied by the team's productivity (19 regulation time wins in 41 games), he fired Montreal head coach Claude Julien. Taking the interim behind the bench, he hired Guy Carbonneau as his assistant coach.
Gainey's personal life has put him through tough times over the last decade and more. In 1995, his wife lost her battle against brain cancer at the age of 39, leaving him with their four children. In December 2007, his daughter Laura was reported missing at sea, after being swept overboard.
Guy Carbonneau recalled that even in those hard times, he would ask him how the team was doing.
Gainey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.
His jersey will join legends Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Guy Lafleur, Doug Harvey, Jacques Plante, Yvan Cournoyer, Dickie Moore, Bernard Geoffrion, Serge Savard, Ken Dryden, and Larry Robinson in the Bell Center.
The Gainey family created a foundation on May 2007, http://www.gaineyfoundation.com/
During their pre-game practice, the Blue Jackets will be wearing the #23 on their jerseys to honour the Canadiens legend.
An auction will take place on www.auction.nhl.com, from February 25th to March 2nd, to sell those woren jerseys, which will be signed by Bob Gainey himself. The funds will be given to the Gainey and the Blue Jackets respective foundations.
The ceremony will start at 6.00 p.m. EST.
As we say, GO BOB GO!
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