Bob Gassoff

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Bob Gassoff
Born (1953-04-17)April 17, 1953
Quesnel, BC, CAN
Died May 27, 1977(1977-05-27) (aged 24)
near Gray Summit, MO, USA
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for St. Louis Blues
NHL Draft 48th overall, 1973
St. Louis Blues
WHA Draft 33rd overall, 1973
Minnesota Fighting Saints
Playing career 1973–1977

Robert Allen Gassoff (April 17, 1953 in Quesnel, British Columbia – May 27, 1977 in Gray Summit, Missouri) was a professional ice hockey player. He played four seasons in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on the country property of his friend and team-mate Garry Unger near Gray Summit, Missouri; his number three was subsequently retired by the Blues.

Motorcycle accident[edit]

Gassoff was killed in a motorcycle accident on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in 1977. He and his pregnant wife, Diane, had been invited to a postseason barbecue at teammate Garry Unger's 200-acre (0.81 km2) farm near Gray Summit, Mo. At roughly 6:00 p.m., Gassoff joined several others in riding motorcycles around Unger's property. Unger later said that he remembered wondering if it was a good idea for Gassoff to ride the motorcycle because he had been drinking and did not have any riding experience. Gassoff drove out of Unger's property on a gravel road that merged into to a winding road leading up a hill to Villa Ridge, Missouri. Gassoff was not wearing a helmet and had no license plate on his motorcycle and decided to take a short run up the hill and come right back. On his way back down the hill, he collided head-on with a car driven by a man named Douglas Klekamp. The crash killed Gassoff, and Klekamp walked away uninjured. In October 1977, Gassoff's widow filed a $3 million lawsuit against Unger, his wife, and Klekamp, whom the suit alleged was one of Unger's employees running an errand for the Ungers. Unger describes Gassoff's death as one of the most devastating moments of his life.


Gassoff's brother, Brad, was also an NHL hockey player. His brother Ken, born October 9, 1954, was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft and by the Houston Aeros in the 1974 WHA Amateur Draft.[1]


Following his death, the Bob Gassoff Trophy was created to be presented annually to the most improved defenseman in the Central Hockey League (CHL).[2]

See also[edit]


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