By Joe Chrzanowski | Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19
Happy 45th Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Defenseman Hal Gill!
Gill was born on April 6th, 1975, in Concord, MA, and was drafted by the Bruins in the eighth round (207 overall) of the National Hockey League Entry Draft in June of 1993. The 6′-7″, 243-pound behemoth of a man was drafted out of Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, MA before attending Providence College.
He was a four-year starter for the Friars and captained the team his senior year before turning pro for the 1997-98 NHL season. The four years of NCAA play apparently served him well as he would play only four games in the AHL before being called up to the big club, and never looked back. Gill would spend the next 16 years in the NHL, logging more than 1100 games with the Bruins and five other organizations.
He was a fixture on the Boston defense for the next eight seasons, playing with guys like B’s legend Ray Bourque, and current GM, Don Sweeney before they moved on. Gill was a steady, stay at home defenseman who did not put up many points, but was very solid defensively. It was my experience that Gill was a bit of a whipping boy in his years in Boston. I think that was because despite his massive size he was never much of a fighter, although he did fight some heavyweights like Kocur, Godard, and Chara (when he was with OTT). His teams made it past the Quarterfinals only once during his tenure (1998-99) and failed to qualify for the playoffs three times, which was unacceptable to a fanbase that was accustomed to winning.
Gill would move on to Toronto in 2006-07, but not before accumulating 626 games with Boston, more than three times as many games as he would play for any other team. He spent only a year and a half with the Leafs before being dealt to Pittsburgh in 2008 for their playoff run. Like his former teammate, Bourque, Hal Gill would find postseason success outside of Boston. He won a Cup the following year (2009), raising Lord Stanley’s hardware with the Penguins. After that, he played with Montreal, Nashville, and closed his career with a brief stint in Philadelphia.
While Gill did not enjoy much playoff success in Boston and was underappreciated here, personally I will always think of him as a Bruin. I could never get used to him in a Hab uniform in particular and felt bad that he was wearing that uniform while the B’s went on to win their Cup in 2011. Hopefully, he had an enjoyable 45th birthday today and remembers only his good times here in the Black and Gold.