Clark Gillies was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Canada. He played junior hockey for the Regina Pats (WHL) where he had three very solid seasons, collecting 79, 92 and 112 points. His last season culminated in a Memorial Cup win, the championship of junior hockey.
"My first year in Regina I had a lot of fights, over 200 minutes in penalties (248 including playoffs). I gained a little respect. I was a big kid, and it just came naturally. I didn't want anybody to push me around. I had to establish a base for myself. I think it helped me the last two years. The second year I didn't have too many problems and the third year was relatively quiet - five, six, 10 fights."
What Clark developed in Regina was confidence. Clark also went on to be a massive 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. His size, toughness and leadership qualities prompted the New York Islanders to draft him 4th overall in the 1974 entry draft.
Clark immediately made an impact in the NHL by scoring 25 goals and 47 points. Clark quickly blossomed into a key player in the Islanders' quest for the Stanley Cup. He scored over 30 goals in six of his next seven seasons and had point totals of 61, 55, 85, 91, 54, 78 and 77. In the late 1970s and early 80s he was one of NHL's premier left wingers and was a 1st team All-Star in 1978 and 79. He was also the MVP in the 1979 Challenge Cup series vs. the Soviets.
For many years Clark played on the so-called "Long Island Lighting Company" line. His original line mates on that line were Bryan Trottier and Billy Harris who was later replaced by Mike Bossy. The trio of Gillies-Trottier-Bossy couldn't be stopped on most nights and struck fear into opponents. Clark always used his size and strength to his advantage while Bossy and Trottier conducted their magic with the puck.
Clark was also a great leader, and a proud member of the NHL captain's fraternity. Clark was only 22 years old when he was selected to replace 36-year old veteran Ed Westfall as a captain on February 3, 1977. "It was time for a younger man to take over the job," Westfall said. "Clark was the right man. He gets along with everyone and is the type of player who can lead others. He can be closer to the younger guys on the team."
Clark played for the Islanders until 1986 and led them to four consecutive Stanley Cups. He was a vital part of the Islanders' machinery and a great fan favorite. In 1986, the Islanders exposed Clark in the waiver draft. He was picked up by the Buffalo Sabres and played two more years for the Sabres before hanging 'em up in 1988. He retired with 958 games under his belt, and 319 goals, 378 assists and 697 points in his pocket. More importantly, he has four Stanley Cup rings on his fingers, thanks in large part to his 94 points in 164 playoff games.