Joseph Adrien Germain Gagnon
Born: December 9, 1942 (Chicoutimi, Québec)
Died: October 26, 2014 (Chicoutimi, Québec)
Germain Gagnon slogged through eight seasons of minor professional hockey before making his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens in 1971-72. He failed to get on the scoresheet in a four-game tryout, but would spend the next four seasons in the NHL on three different teams.
The 6-foot, 175-pound left winger from Chicoutimi, Que., who was one of eight children, benefitted from the NHL’s rapid expansion. After two seasons with the Junior Canadiens, he kicked around the minor pros with such teams as the Omaha Knights, Quebec Aces, Houston Apollos, Providence Reds, Memphis South Stars, the old Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League, and the Montreal (later Nova Scotia) Voyageurs. He showed a scoring touch with 25 goals in his final season in the American Hockey League.
Meanwhile, the NHL expanded from a six teams to 12 to 14 and Gagnon got his first full-time roster place after the NHL expanded again, adding the New York Islanders (and Atlanta Flames) for the 1972-73 season. Montreal traded Gagnon’s rights to the expansion Islanders with Denis DeJordy, Chico Resch and Alex Campbell for cash and a second-round draft pick.
Gagnon scored 12 goals with 29 assists in 63 games for the Islanders in their inaugurals season. He was the team’s third-highest scorer behind Billy Harris (50 points) and Eddie Westfall (46 points).
The forward had his best NHL season with 16 goals and 35 assists with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1974-75.
After going pointless in the first five games of the 1975-76 season, the Black Hawks placed Gagnon on waivers, where he was claimed by the Kansas City Scouts. He scored his final NHL goal for the Scouts, a franchise which moved at the end of the season to Denver as the Colorado Rockies and, later still, New Jersey as the Devils.
Gagnon died in his hometown of cancer. He was 71.