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Born October 28, 1963 (1963-10-28) (age 46),
Surrey, BC, CAN
Height
Weight
6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
203 lb (92 kg; 14 st 7 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
NHL Draft 3rd Overall, 1982
Toronto Maple Leafs
Career 1982 – present

Gary Nylund (born October 28, 1963 in Surrey, British Columbia) is a retired former professional ice hockey player who played 608 National Hockey League games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders.

Nylund appeared to be the complete package on defence when he joined the NHL in 1982. The 6'4" defenceman was a punishing hitter whose mobility and passing ability far exceeded most big men in the game. A knee injury suffered as a rookie curtailed his development and he ended up being a role player in eleven NHL seasons, rather than a star.

The native of Surrey, British Columbia played in the BCJHL with the Delta Islanders before joining the WHL's Portland Winter Hawks. In 1981-82, he registered 59 assists, was placed on the league's first all-star team, and helped Portland reach the Memorial Cup tournament. Although the Kitchener Rangers won the Cup, Nylund was placed on the tournament all-star team. That year he was a key figure when Canada won its first-ever-gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in 1982. The talented prospect was chosen 3rd overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 1982 NHL Entry Draft after only Gord Kluzak and Brian Bellows.

Nylund was off to a fine start as a rookie in the 1982-83 pre-season but twisted his knee when he checked Quebec's Wilf Paiement and was able to play only a few games in mid-season. After re-injuring his knee, Nylund remained on the sidelines for the rest of the year and did not return until the 1983-84 schedule was over 30 games old. The youngster showed glimpses of returning to form but he never rose to the top three on the fairly weak Toronto defence. Nylund played 79 games in 1985-86.

In the off-season, Nylund signed with the Chicago Blackhawks as a restricted free agent and helped solidify their blueline for nearly three years. He scored a career-high 27 points in 1986-87 and fit in well on the deeper Hawks defense corps. In November 1988 he was traded to the New York Islanders and was a solid performer there until he retired early in the 1992-93 season.

According to a 2006 issue of The Hockey News, Nylund currently works as a firefighter in Delta, British Columbia.

On May 14, 2004 Nylund was awarded a Medal of Bravery by the Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable ADRIENNE CLARKSON, citation as follows:

"On July 31, 2001, Stephan Kesting, Mandip Kooner, Gary Nylund and Mark Pfeifer rescued two fellow firefighters trapped in one of the largest building fires ever to occur in the municipality of Delta, British Columbia. With two of their colleagues unaccounted for, the foursome from the Rapid Intervention Team went inside the smoke-filled structure despite warnings that the burning warehouse was in danger of collapsing. In spite of depleting air supplies, they dug by hand through heavy piles of paper and rubble until they found the two victims, buried under the debris. The team managed to free the injured firefighters, and carried them outside to safety, moments before the unstable building collapsed."

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