Gary Bergman

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Gary Bergman
Born (1938-10-07)October 7, 1938
Kenora, ON, CAN
Died December 8, 2000(2000-12-08) (aged 62)
Detroit, United States
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 188 lb (85 kg; 13 st 6 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for AHL
Buffalo Bisons
Cleveland Barons
Quebec Aces
NHL
Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota North Stars
Kansas City Scouts
National team  Canada
Playing career 1960–1976

Gary Gunnar Bergman (October 7, 1938 in Kenora, Ontario – December 8, 2000, Detroit) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player. A defenceman, Berman played in the NHL, mostly for the Detroit Red Wings. He was also a part of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.

Playing career[edit]

Minor league career[edit]

The professional hockey world had its first look at Bergman in 1957 when the Winnipeg Warriors of the Western Hockey League called up the young defenceman currently on the MJHL's Winnipeg Braves. After two years with the Warriors, and solid defensive play, Bergman moved into the American Hockey League and continued to gain experience while skating with four different AHL squads, including the Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Barons, Quebec Aces, and the Springfield Indians. It was after this last season in 1964 that the NHL finally took notice. The Detroit Red Wings claimed Bergman in the 1964 Intra-League Draft on June 10 and put the hard-working defenceman to the test.

NHL career[edit]

Bergman joined the Detroit Red Wings for the 1964–65 season and looked very comfortable as a freshman. In 58 games, Bergman held back his offensive instincts while focusing on his defensive work. Gradually he gained confidence and seniority on the team. He played solidly when the Wings reached the 1966 Stanley Cup finals and lost to the Montreal Canadiens in six games. Bergman was the man tangled up with Montreal’s Henri Richard when Richard scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal against Detroit in overtime during Game 6 of the 1965–66 final series. Bergman, like all Wings from that season, was convinced Richard pushed the puck in with his glove and the goal should not have counted. He said this after the game,

"I took him down and held his stick in my hand, there was no way he could score."

Bergman continued to improve his defensive and offensive roles on the team throughout the early 1970s. His well-rounded play made him useful on both the power-play and penalty-killing units for the Wings. Although he incurred his share of penalties, Bergman wasn't considered a surly opponent on the ice. He rarely looked for trouble but also never backed down from an onrushing opponent, whether he was a fancy scorer or a power forward. While all eyes were on young superstars like Bobby Orr and Brad Park, the Red Wings were a mediocre team that continued to lose respect in the league, especially with the retirement of Gordie Howe. Bergman started turning to the community, becoming involved in many outside charities and organizations. He was particularly involved with helping disabled children and adults. He was one of the most liked NHLers off the ice due to his charity work and in 1973 he was named co-winner of the Charlie Conacher Humanitarian Award.

After 10 years as a Wing, Bergman was traded to the Minnesota North Stars for fellow veteran blueliner Ted Harris on November 7, 1973. One thought as to why he was traded stemmed from Bergman speaking out when he disagreed with the decisions of coach Ned Harkness. He would post 26 points to go along with his consistent defensive play in the 1973–74 season for the North Stars.

After one year he was reacquired in the off-season on October 1, 1974 by the Red Wings for Detroit's third round draft pick in 1975 (who ended up being Alex Pirus). He would score 30 points for his former team before being traded again the following year. Along with Bill McKenzie, Bergman was traded on August 22, 1975 for Peter McDuffe and Glen Burdon to the newly formed Kansas City Scouts where he would spend his final NHL season. In 1975–76, Bergman would record his second highest point total of his NHL career, scoring five goals and tacking on 33 assists to finish with 38 total points.

Bergman retired with 367 points in 838 regular season games. In nearly a decade and a half of NHL service, he had the chance to play in only 21 post-season games, 12 of them taking place in 1966.

1972 Summit Series[edit]

In 1972 Bergman received a huge compliment when Harry Sinden and John Ferguson invited him to play with Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. Bergman recounted the day he was asked to play for his country,

"Harry called me Sunday morning. Janie and the kids and I were just going out the door to church, and I had to stop. Janie was saying, 'Would you get off the damn phone, we have to get to church.' It was Harry Sinden on the phone asking me if I'd be part of the team."

Bergman played an important defensive role in all eight games against the Soviets and chipped in with three assists. He would posthumously be honored for his defensive efforts in 2005, when the team was honored, en masse, as members of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1957–58 Winnipeg Braves MJHL 30 4 2 6 73 5 1 2 3 14
1957–58 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 2 0 0 0 0
1958–59 Winnipeg Braves MJHL 29 15 15 30 114 24 4 20 24 46
1959–60 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 58 1 9 10 147
1960–61 Buffalo Bisons AHL 67 5 14 19 104 4 0 0 0 12
1961–62 Cleveland Barons AHL 68 10 30 40 164 6 1 2 3 14
1962–63 Quebec Aces AHL 8 1 2 3 14
1962–63 Cleveland Barons AHL 47 4 19 23 127 7 1 5 6 10
1963–64 Springfield Indians AHL 60 13 24 37 106
1964–65 Detroit Red Wings NHL 58 4 7 11 85 5 0 1 1 4
1965–66 Detroit Red Wings NHL 61 3 16 19 96 12 0 3 3 14
1965–66 Memphis Wings CPHL 5 2 3 5 4
1966–67 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 5 30 35 129
1967–68 Detroit Red Wings NHL 74 13 28 41 109
1968–69 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 7 30 37 80
1969–70 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 6 17 23 122 4 0 1 1 2
1970–71 Detroit Red Wings NHL 68 8 25 33 149
1971–72 Detroit Red Wings NHL 75 6 31 37 138
1972–73 Detroit Red Wings NHL 68 3 28 31 71
1973–74 Detroit Red Wings NHL 11 0 6 6 18
1973–74 Minnesota North Stars NHL 57 3 23 26 66
1974–75 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 5 25 30 104
1975–76 Kansas City Scouts NHL 75 5 33 38 82
NHL totals 838 68 299 367 1249 21 0 5 5 20

International[edit]

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1972 Canada SS 8 0 3 3 13

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Red Berenson
Detroit Red Wings captain
1973–74
Succeeded by
Ted Harris