Calgary Flames 10 days until the season starts: #10 Gary Roberts

CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 19: Gary Roberts
CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 19: Gary Roberts /

The season is so close I can almost taste it. With 10 days left, let’s look at a former Calgary Flames player with that number.

Since the start of August, we’re counting down the number of days left until the regular season starts up again! Every day until the start of the season, we’ll be talking about a Calgary Flames player whose number correlates with how many days there are left.

Yesterday, we took a look at a current member on the Flames roster who’s shaping up to be one of their best forwards. That was #11 Mikael Backlund.

Today, let’s look at a player who spent a good ten years with the club. With 10 days left until the season starts, let’s look at #10 Gary Roberts.

Related Story: 11 days until the season starts - #11 Mikael Backlund

Who is Gary Roberts?

Name: Gary Roberts

Birthplace: North York, ON, Canada

Position: LW

Shoots: Left

Birthdate: 1966-05-23

Height: 6’2” / 188 cm

Weight: 98 kg / 215 lbs

Drafted by: Calgary Flames, 12th overall 1984

Stats with all NHL teams, regular season:

Before being drafted by the Calgary Flames in 1984, he was playing with the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL. He put up 27 goals and 57 points in 48 games, and had 10 goals and 17 points in 13 playoff games. They won the championship that year.

After being drafted, Roberts was returned back to the OHL to play again with the 67’s for 1984-85. He sported the “C” on his jersey and improved tremendously. He put up 44 goals and 106 points in 59 regular season games. The 67’s were eliminated in the playoffs, which gave a chance to Roberts to get a taste of pro life. He played in seven games with the Flames AHL affiliate and had four goals and six points in those seven games.

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

After another season of being down in the OHL and winning a silver medal at the World Juniors, he finally went full-time pro in 1986-87. He split the season between the AHL and the NHL. In 32 games with the Calgary Flames that year, he had five goals and 15 points. He never spent time in the AHL again after that season and had a full-time job with the Flames.

In 1987-88, he had 13 goals and 28 points in 74 games with the Flames. But what got people’s attention was the 282 PIM he put up that year. The following season, he improved with 22 goals and 38 points in 71 games. That year, the Flames won the cup and Roberts had five goals, 12 points, 57 PIM in 22 playoff games.

Known for more of a physical player, teammate Joe Nieuwendyk helped him with his offensive skills. He became a power forward and a physical player all in one. Basically a complete package. Almost like current Flame, Matthew Tkachuk. That season in 1989-90, he improved much more with 39 goals and 72 points in 78 regular season games.

In 1991-92, Roberts hit the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career. He had 53 goals and 90 points in 76 games. He still put up 207 PIM. Roberts was third among all skaters in the league for goals.

In 1993-94, he missed the end of the season due to nerve damage in his neck. In 1994-95, he played in just eight games with the injury not getting any better. He was unable to even lift two pounds with his left arm. The injury was now considered life-threatening.

Roberts required two different surgeries, he only played eight games that season.

Roberts missed half of the 1995-96 season but returned in January of 1996. Acknowledged for his dedication and perseverance to the sport, Roberts won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Unfortunately, even with the award, his injuries were still bad and considered life-threatening. So Roberts decided the best move would be to hang up his skates in 1996 and retire at the age of 30.

However a year later, Roberts met with a chiropractor who had a revolutionary technique that basically cured him in a way. He may have missed a year, but he returned to the NHL for the 1997-98 season. He was traded from the Flames to the Carolina Hurricanes to help with stress levels for him and not cause any more strain on his neck.

After a few years with the Hurricanes, he signed as a free-agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Roberts played for a few more different teams before finally and officially calling it quits in 2009, at the age of 43.

Roberts now works as a trainer at the junior level and at the NHL level – having many successful protégés. One being Tampa Bay Lightning star, Steven Stamkos.

Next: Throwback Thursday - Johnny Gaudreau and Jakub Voracek at ASG

His perseverance to the game is definitely admirable, but you have to wonder how many players today put their lives on the line for their biggest passion.