Goonery like Gillies’ must end

Minor pro forward Trevor Gillies has been suspended 12 games by the AHL. Taylor Rocca doesn't think its enough.

  • Oct. 16, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Taylor Rocca

Trevor Gillies has been around the game of hockey for a long time.

How long? Well, his major junior career began during the 1996-97 Ontario Hockey League season with the North Bay Centennials.

The native of Cambridge, Ont. made his professional debut during the 1999-00 season when he suited up in 53 games with the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves, before moving up the ranks with the AHL’s Lowell Lock Monsters.

After toiling in minor pro for nearly a decade, not including a solo cup of coffee with the Anaheim Ducks in 2005-06, Gillies made the jump to the NHL with the New York Islanders during the 2009-10 season, getting into 14 games.

Since then, he’s dressed for a grand total of 57 NHL games, 390 AHL games and 222 ECHL games spread between 17 different professional clubs in North America, while also spending two seasons in Europe.

If you don’t know who Trevor Gillies is, you are not missing out on anyone of significance.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “If Trevor Gillies isn’t of any significance, why is Taylor wasting his precious Thursday column space on Trevor Gillies?”

The 6-foot-3 pugilist has amassed 261 PIMs in 57 NHL games. The 236-pound thug has been tagged for 1,575 PIMs in 390 AHL games.

It’s not that I have an issue with rough-and-tumble hockey. In fact, I love the physical aspect of the game. Growing up in Calgary, I distinctly remember the thrill of watching the Calgary Hitmen in the mid- to late-1990s because it seemed like a rougher, rawer brand of hockey than that of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.

What I have issue with is the actions Gillies took Oct. 10 during AHL action between the Adirondack Flames (Calgary Flames affiliate) and Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres affiliate). To give you the quick-hit recount of events, a scuffle broke out, which eventually led to the 6-foot-3, 236-pound Gillies using two hands to smash the head of 196-pound rookie William Carrier off the ice. Important note: Carrier was an unwilling combatant. Simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thankfully, his bucket was still on his head.

Don’t believe me? Click here for the video evidence.

Physicality has a place within hockey. Sure, fighting seems to be slowly going the way of the dodo. But this thuggish assault never had any place within the game.

It didn’t in the 1930s. It didn’t in the 1960s. I wasn’t around during the days of Philadelphia’s Broadstreet Bullies…so I can’t speak to them. But it didn’t in the 1990s and nothing has changed more than 20 years later.

So why did the AHL see fit to only slap Gillies with a 12-game suspension?

Carrier skated off under his own power and by all accounts has been fine since. It doesn’t change the fact Gillies assaulted another human being.

If Trevor Gillies walked up to William Carrier on the sidewalk right here on the streets of Cranbrook, and bounced the kid’s head off the pavement, I don’t think the police would slap him on the wrist with a fine. I imagine he would be taken into custody and charged with assault.

The AHL got it wrong here. Gillies has a long track record of violating the law throughout professional hockey. If the leagues don’t figure it out, it’s time teams around North America wake up and send Trevor Gillies’ career the way of the dodo.

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