October 08, 2015

Jody Gage

"Mr. Amerk" Jody Gage goes down in history as one of the greatest players not only in Rochester Americans history, but in American Hockey League history as well. He played in parts of 17 AHL seasons, and is one of only 3 AHLers to notch 500 goals and 1000 assists in that league. The three time AHL all star and 1988 AHL Most Valuable Player also ranks as the AHL's all time leading goal scorer in the playoffs.

Despite all of his great success in the minor leagues, Gage only got into 68 National Hockey League games. Only 18 of those were in a Buffalo Sabres jersey.

Gage, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, was drafted 45th overall in 1979 by the Detroit Red Wings. Gage's lack of speed prevented from becoming an NHLer, but he did appear in 50 games in 7 years while with the Red Wings. He scored 11 goals and 23 points in that time, but became a regular in Adirondack, home of the Red Wings farm team.

Jody Gage opted to sign on with the Buffalo Sabres organization as a free agent in 1985. Jody was realistic and knew he had little chance of playing in the NHL, so he made his decision to join the Sabres because his family enjoyed the location of their top farm team - Rochester, New York. Gage would permanently settle in the city and reportedly refused an opportunity to join another NHL team so that he could keep his family where they were happy.

Gage did have three stints as a member of the Sabres. In his first year in the organization he had his bests showing, scoring 3 goals and 5 points in 7 games in 1985-86. The Sabres rewarded Gage for his AHL MVP season of 1987-88 by dressing him for 2 games, and in 1991-92 he participated in 9 games.

Six times Jody scored more than 40 goals as an Amerk, including a league leading 60 in 1987-88. He slowed down considerably in his final three seasons from 1994 to 1996. By that point he was being groomed for a front office job in the organization.

After retiring he would become the team's general manager. He quickly established himself as a top executive in the AHL, earning executive of the year honors.

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