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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lost Rookies: 1986-87 OPC Gates Orlando

  Gaeteno "Gates" Orlando played parts of three season in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres in the mid 1980s.  Gates was an undersized, 5'8, 180lbs, skilled center whose size and decision to play NCAA hockey over North American junior, let him slip to 164th overall in the 1981 draft.  During his brief NHL career he split time between the Sabres and their farm club, the Rochester Americans.  His team leading 22 points helped the Amerks win the AHL Calder Cup in 1987.  The next season, he crossed the Atlantic to play pro and went on to a successful career in Italy, including representing Italy at two Olympic games.
  In 2011, Gates was diagnosed with a rare heart disease, sarcoidosis.  His heart would eventually give out, but he was saved by the defibrillator vest he was wearing.  On April 4th of 2012, Gates had an artificial heart transplant.  He lived with the artificial heart for over a year until a donor heart could be secured and implanted.  Gates made a full recovery and is, obviously, a big fan of organ donors.  He currently works as a scout for the New Jersey Devils.
  Gates never had a NHL card.  So below is what a 1986-87 OPC Gates Orlando card may have looked.  Quality Gates Orlando Sabres images are in short supply on the internet.  I almost decided against mocking up a card for Gates but you have to give him some love for what he has been through.

1986-87 OPC #267 Gates Orlando (RC)

1986-87 OPC #267 Gates Orlando (RC)

1 comment:

  1. Good call - and decent job on the card!

    I had never heard of sarcoidosis until it was a running theme in one season of House, M.D. Since then, I notice it every time I read it.