Discovered playing amateur hockey in his native Moncton, N.B., Dick Gamble became one of the most prolific scorers in American Hockey League history, as well as an all-star in the National Hockey League.
Gamble skated three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, appearing in the NHL All-Star Game and winning a Stanley Cup championship in 1953. He made his AHL debut in 1954-55 with the Buffalo Bisons, needing just 45 games to score a team-leading 38 goals and earning a Second Team AHL All-Star nod.
Gamble returned to Buffalo in 1957 and would score at least 30 goals in 10 of the next 12 AHL seasons. He moved east to Rochester in 1961 and soon became one of the faces of the burgeoning Americans franchise.
In 1964-65, Gamble set a career benchmark by scoring 48 goals for the Amerks and leading the team to their first Calder Cup championship. A year later, he won the AHL’s scoring title with a personal-best 98 points and was named league MVP as Rochester won a second straight Cup. A 46-goal season in 1966-67 helped the Amerks to the Finals for the third year in a row, and in 1968, he helped bring Rochester its third championship in four seasons.
In 1968-69, Gamble became player/coach of the Americans and put up one more 30-goal season. He hung up his skates for good seven games into the following season.
Gamble earned a total of six postseason AHL All-Star berths (two First Team, four Second Team), and was inducted as an original member of the Amerks Hall of Fame in 1986.
Gamble ranks fourth all-time in AHL history with 468 goals and fifth with 892 points in 898 career AHL games. He remains second all-time in Amerks franchise history in goals (569), points (565) and gamed played (569) and is fifth in assists (265).
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM PLAYING IN ROCHESTER?
It’s hard to pick just one. I guess I must’ve liked it around here because the plan was for me to come here for one year. I told Imlach (George “Punch” Imlach) that I would go there because I was traded from Buffalo (Bisons). But, basically, long story short, I’ve been here ever since. I never thought it was a job and playing in Rochester never felt like it was a job because I enjoyed it here so much.
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT PLAYING HERE?
When I first came to Rochester in 1961, there were only about 700 kids or so playing hockey. I had a boy at the time that was in grade school, and after being here a year, the people of Rochester wanted me to teach the community a little bit about hockey. There was also a lot of interest for me to do the same with kids living outside the Toronto area in Oshawa. It was all organized under the direction of the Lyons Club and for a few years we had an international game between the Lyons Club from Rochester and the kids from Canada. Shortly after that, I started up my own hockey school in Rochester. There was definitely a need for it because people really didn’t know a lot about hockey back in that era.
WHAT WAS THE ATMOSPHERE LIKE AT THE WAR MEMORIAL BACK THEN?
I remember there being a lot of families taking their kids to our games when I first got here. It was very much a family-oriented crowd for a while and then after three or four years, you see the crowd changed. They started paying more attention to us and really got behind us during the years when we won all those championships.
YOU WON THREE CALDER CUPS IN FOUR YEARS WITH THE AMERKS DURING THE TEAM’S “DYNASTY YEARS.” TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THAT TIME AND HOW SPECIAL IT WAS TO BE A PART OF AS A PLAYER.
I was enjoying the game of hockey more then because I’d been around it for quite a while. Back then there weren’t as many teams in the National Hockey League or American Hockey League, and truthfully I enjoyed playing in Rochester because we were winners. We had a lot of guys that wanted to win. That was the key.
YOU SAY ALL THE TIME HOW PROUD YOU ARE TO HAVE SPENT SO MUCH OF YOUR CAREER WITH THE ROCHESTER AMERICANS. WHAT DID YOUR TIME WITH THE AMERKS MEAN TO YOU?
I enjoyed it. I actually didn’t think of it as a job. I enjoyed the challenge and played through my abilities. I have no regrets of ending up in Rochester. It was a great place with a lot of nice people and that’s why I’m still here.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE A PART OF THE OPENING FESTIVITIES FOR THE AMERKS 60TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON?
It was great to show all the history of Rochester and it’s good that the fans still remember us old characters. It was a special night to be a part of.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO IN RECENT YEARS?
Well I lived in LeRoy for a number of years. I actually met a lady there and we’ve been married for about 42 years, but we just recently came to Pittsford here after we downsized our home. I keep active, though, with building things. I had two other jobs over the years and I worked until I was about 76 years old. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all my careers and now I’m enjoying my time with my family and grandkids.