The American Hockey Coaches Association named seven annual major award winners Thursday, including Duluth-born John Gilbert earning the Jim Fullerton Award, going to those promoting the purity of the sport. The awards will be presented at the association’s annual convention April 29-May 2 in Naples, Fla. Former News Tribune writer Bill Brophy won the Fullerton Award in 2007, Ted Brill of Grand Rapids in 1999 and WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod in 2004.
Here’s a provided biography of Gilbert, 66, a Duluth Central, who attended Minnesota Duluth and is a University of Minnesota graduate, and at one time worked for the Duluth News Tribune:
THE JIM FULLERTON AWARD: Named in honor of the former Brown University hockey coach and AHCA spiritual leader, this award recognizes an individual who loves the purity of our sport. Whether a coach, administrator, trainer, official, journalist or simply a fan, the recipient exemplifies Jim Fullerton, who gave as much as he received and never stopped caring about the direction in which our game was heading.
2010 Recipient: John Gilbert, Minnesota Media
John Gilbert grew up in Duluth, MN and though he never played the game of hockey while growing up, he was always at the local parks and fell in love with the game. Gilbert started covering hockey as a writer at the University of Minnesota-Duluth as a student when UMD was just making the transition from DIII to DI. He soon transferred to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and started covering the Gophers and high school hockey. After college he started writing for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune companies.
Gilbert was writing articles on the Gophers, high school hockey and the new professional hockey team in St. Paul, the Minnesota Fighting Saints. His articles caught the attention of the Minnesota North Stars, who soon had Gilbert covering them as well. Said one observer, “In essence he became the hockey department at the Tribune!”
While covering the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, Gilbert became close friends with Herb Brooks and penned the book, “Herb Brooks: The Inside Story of a Hockey Mastermind” He also wrote a book about the Gophers returning to national prominence after they won back to back National titles early in Don Lucia’s tenure with the Gophers.
Gilbert continues to write for various magazines and radio stations across the state of Minnesota. For many years he would write 13 stories a week for 52 weeks a year. And he still found time to be on the US Hockey Hall of Fame committee, which he has been on until this past year. He has also served on the Minnesota Mr. Hockey Committee, the Hobey Baker Committee and the Patty Kazmaier Committee. He also has coached baseball, hockey and soccer for Roseville, MN in various summer, spring and fall leagues.
Currently Gilbert writes for WCHA.com and he still plays amateur baseball. Gilbert’s respect in Minnesota hockey circles is such that in 2003, he was elected into the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the only non high school coach ever to be elected.