Gilbert Dionne

You could be forgiven if you thought Gilbert Dionne's nickname "King" came courtesy of his famous older brother. Marcel Dionne, best known as a Los Angeles King, was one of the greatest offensive players the game of hockey has ever seen. But in actuality, Gilbert's nickname came from a love of karaoke - specifically Elvis songs.

Gilbert may always be known as Marcel's little brother, but more than a few people have confused him as his son. Gilbert is 19 years younger. Being so much younger made Marcel more of a hero to look up to than a brother.

Gilbert may have caught a few breaks because of his famous brother and his last name, but he was hardly considered to be a top prospect much of his youth. He would follow his brother's move by playing in Ontario, learning English and developing his hockey game.

Gilbert slowly developed into a NHL prospect. The Montreal Canadiens, who passed on Marcel in favor of Guy Lafleur years early, took Gilbert in the 4th round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.

Gilbert caught on with the Habs in  1991-92. Skating with Shayne Corson and Mike Keane, he scored 21 goals in 39 games and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

“I would just go to the net and the puck would end up on my stick. I just kept it as simple as possible and it worked out for me,” he told The Hockey News.

The next year Gilbert would score 12 points in 20 playoff games to help the Habs win an unexpected Stanley Cup championship. In doing so he accomplished about the only thing older brother Marcel was not able to do - hoist the Stanley Cup high over his head.

“I had two tickets available and I asked Marcel and his wife to be there. He came to the game luckily. I kept waiting for my turn (to hoist the Cup on the ice after the game) and I said: ‘No, I’m going to wait until I’m at that section so I can raise the Cup in front of my brother,’” Gilbert recalled. “It was one of the best things ever and I just raised the Cup up and I almost dropped it because it’s about 35 pounds and throughout the playoffs I lost about 15 pounds. I raised it toward my brother and it was the highlight of my life to show him that, ‘Hey, we finally did it.’”

Unfortunately the rest of Dionne's tenure in Montreal was not so rosy. He had a bit of a love/hate relationship with fans as his game never really continued to develop after that great playoff. On Feb. 9, 1995, he was dealt to Philadelphia in a blockbuster along with Eric Desjardins and John LeClair for Mark Recchi and a third-round draft pick. 

Dionne would surprisingly only play 22 games in Philadelphia and 5 more in Florida before disappearing to the minor leagues. He would become a very popular player with the Cincinnati Cylones.

After retiring from hockey Gilbert purposely took a job outside of hockey. He settled in Tavistock, Ontario, working as a grain merchant for Parrish and Heimbecker.

“I made a decision to work outside of hockey. The best thing is to do a nine-to-five job so I can come home to my kids and my wife every night,” he said.


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