David Gross was an American legend in the NHL.
He won three Stanley Cups and was the last American to win the Art Ross trophy.
But his career in the league was cut short when he died at age 38 from injuries sustained during a skateboarding accident.
Gross was the first NHL player to receive an autograph after being drafted in 1967.
He died Saturday night at his home in California.
The NHL says he was the most decorated player to ever wear a Stanley Cup.
The Philadelphia Flyers had the NHL’s first all-star team and the team’s first captain in 1967, but Gross’ career in hockey came to an end in 1970 when he crashed his motorcycle while on the way to the rink.
The team released a statement Saturday night saying that it is “deeply saddened” by the news of Gross’ passing.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues at this very difficult time,” the statement read.
Gross played for the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and Dallas Stars in the 1970s and 1980s. “
We also would like to extend our deepest condolences to his wife and children and their families.”
Gross played for the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and Dallas Stars in the 1970s and 1980s.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Gross, who won a Stanley with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1968, was drafted in the first round (second overall) by the New York Rangers.
He played two seasons in the AHL before being traded to the Chicago Wolves in 1971.
He spent one season in the World Hockey Association.
He then played for five teams before returning to the NHL in 1974.
He had seven seasons with the Flyers.
Gross won four Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975 and 1976, and two with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978 and 1980.
He scored seven goals with the Rangers in 1987 and scored a career-high 26 points with the New Jersey Devils in 1989.
Gross had 11 goals and 39 points with Dallas in 1990.
Gross spent the last seven seasons in Philadelphia, winning two Stanley Cups.
He retired as a player in 1994.
Gross will be buried at the University of Colorado Memorial Sports Complex.
He is survived by his wife, Carol, and four children, David, Jennifer, John and Heather.
Gross earned a reputation for being an intimidating presence in the dressing room.
“He’s an icon,” Flyers forward Scott Laughton said.
“You could see he had a very strong presence.
He always had his helmet on.”
He played for more than two decades in the Flyers organization.
“When I was with the team, he was a real tough guy,” Flyers center Joe Sakic said.
Gross’ teammates also remembered him fondly.
“I played with him for a couple of years, and I loved him so much,” Flyers defenseman Paul Holmgren said.
“(He was) always on top of the puck, always had an edge to him.”