Date of Birth: 1957
Place of Birth: Come By Chance, NL
Inducted: 2001 (Player Category)
From his 1966 debut in provincial hockey as an award winning pee wee to the injury that ended his career December 9, 1983, Clarenville native Rob Gladney enjoyed exceptional success as a smart, tough, hard-skating, precise-passing defenseman at every level of hockey in which he played. A badly torn retina ended Gladney’s drive towards the National Hockey League just as he was making the final move to the big time. He played 13 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins just prior to his injury as a member of the Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League.
Drafted 24th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1977 NHL draft, Gladney was voted the best defenseman and an all-star while playing for the Saginaw Gears in the International Hockey League. Traded to the Los Angeles Kings, he earned his second top defenseman award as his club won the 1981 championship. His 78 games that season resulted in 12 goals, 71 assists and 83 points with only 54 penalty minutes.
Moved to the New Haven Nighthawks, Gladney saw his first NHL action December 15, 1982 when the Kings played the Rangers in New York. New Haven fans voted him the award for skill and sportsmanship. He finished with four individual awards for the 1982-83 season with the Nighthawks. In fact, his complete seven-season pro hockey career was filled with team and individual awards for a very valuable defenseman.
Gladney’s three junior hockey seasons were spent with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Junior Hockey organization. He went sixth overall in the League’s 1974 draft and won four major awards with the Generals who he captained in 1976 and 1977. He played 188 games for Oshawa with 58 goals and 144 assists for 202 points and 187 penalty minutes. This was an excellent record for a defenseman who stood out defensively.
As a perennial all-star for Clarenville minor teams from 1965 to 1974, he was voted 11 major individual awards as he provided outstanding leadership for teams that did extremely well in a variety of tournaments and championships, often against teams from communities that were much larger than Clarenville. Gladney was the leader and his teammates followed his leadership.