The Rochester Americans were an expansion franchise in the American Hockey League for the 1956-57 season. In the more than half century since the birth of the Americans, just two numbers have been retired by the club. One of the numbers is retired in honour of two different players.
#6 – Norm ‘Red’ Armstrong
Armstrong played professional hockey from 1960-61 to 1972-73 in the EHL, AHL, NHL, EPHL and CPHL. His National Hockey League experience was limited to just seven games with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1962-63 season.
In the AHL, Norm played 644 regular season games, mostly with Rochester. With the Americans, Red was part of consecutive Calder Cup championships in 1964-65 and 1965-66. In the first year, the Amerks met the Hershey Bears in the final series and prevailed in five games. The following year, Rochester took on the Cleveland Barons in the finals and won in six games.
Armstrong came close to one more Calder Cup championship in 1971-72, his second last year of professional hockey. Playing for the Baltimore Clippers, Norm reached the finals before falling to the Nova Scotia Voyageurs four games to two.
In 1974, shortly after retiring from hockey, Armstrong was killed in a construction accident. In 1986, he was inducted into the Rochester Americans Hall of Fame.
#9 – Dick Gamble
Gamble played his junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey Association. He appeared with the Generals for three seasons, 1946-47 to 1948-49. Dick retired with 195 regular season games played in the NHL, along with 14 more in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Black Hawks and Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1952-53, he played for the Habs as the team beat the Boston Bruins in the finals to capture the Stanley Cup.
Like Red Armstrong, Gamble played for the Calder Cup winning Americans in 1964-65 and 1965-66. He won a third Calder Cup with Rochester in 1967-68 after the team ousted the Quebec Aces in six games in the finals.
Dick played 899 regular season games in the American Hockey League. Most of his action was with Rochester but he also played with the Buffalo Bisons earlier in his career.
#9 – Jody Gage
Another grad of the Ontario Hockey Association (OMJHL by this time), Jody Gage played three years of junior with the St. Catherines / Hamilton Fincups and Kitchener Rangers. After his final year in the OMJHL, Gage was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the third round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, 45th overall.
Gage played pro hockey from 1979-80 to 1995-96. He appeared in 68 regular season NHL games with the Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres. His AHL experience was much more extensive, playing in 1,038 regular season games. Most of his AHL games were played with Rochester but he also spent time with the Adirondack Red Wings early in his career.
Twice during his AHL career, Jody was a Calder Cup champion. In 1980-81, with the Adirondack Red Wings, Gage came up against the Maine Mariners in the finals. The Red Wings prevailed in six games. He won one Calder with the Americans. Rochester took seven games to down the Sherbrooke Canadiens in the finals in 1986-87.
As an individual, Jody’s best year came in 1987-88. Gage scored 60 games and assisted on 44 for 104 points over 76 games. He was awarded the Les Cunningham Award and the AHL’s Most Valuable Player.