Clark Gillies had some great moments during his playing time with the New York Islanders – and he is still making an impact on the team.
During Game 4 in the second round at Nassau Coliseum, Gillies was put on the scoreboard in the midst of a 1-1 contest. The 67-year-old stole the show.
The four-time Stanley Cup winner chugged his beer and smashed the empty can on his head, drawing a lively reaction from the crowd. That momentum was felt all the way down on the ice, where, minutes later, Mathew Barzal scored the game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins.
Gillies’ game-changing moment was inspired by another notable beer-chugging fan that Isles fans have come to appreciate.
“There is a guy that plays for the New York Jets, Dan Feeney,” Gillies told “Hockey Central” last week. “He has been coming to the games and smashing beer cans on his head, so I was challenged by a friend of mine and he said, ‘You gotta do that when they put you on camera.’ I said, ‘You gotta be out of your mind.’ So I am kind of out of my mind I guess.”
Known as a physical, team-first player during his career, Gillies took both those descriptions and applied them to his viral moment. Over three decades after his final NHL game, he put his body on the line to give his team a boost.
“The game was tied at one and somehow we needed a lift, so when they put the camera on me, I got all fired up,” Gillies said. “Actually, the beer can, I didn’t want to get beer all over anybody in our section, so I drank most of it, took one last sip and I smashed it on my head. I guess I proceeded to smash it on my head about four more times.”
And the rest is history.
“Apparently it worked, because Barzal scored about two minutes later and we went on to win the game,” Gillies said. “I am being called the difference right now.”