Gary Robert's signing with the Leafs in the summer of 2000 was a major shot in the arm for a team that was making major noise in the NHL's Eastern Conference. On the heels of two straight playoff berths under coach Pat Quinn, Roberts brought his playoff mettle to a Leafs team in need of added scoring and veteran savvy.
Four successive playoff appearance ensued and the Leafs moved beyond the opening round three times. Blue and White fans fondly recall Robert's drive and tenacity as the team lost a hard fought conference final to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2002. For the second straight postseason, Roberts recorded a point per game by earning a team-leading 19 points (7g, 12a) in 19 games during the 2002 Playoffs. He was the overtime hero on May 4, 2002 at Air Canada Centre when he ended the third-longest game in Leafs history by scoring in the third OT period versus Ottawa. Roberts was the Leafs leading goal-scorer (29) in 2000-01 and he twice led the club in assists during the postseason (2001 and 2002).
At the time of his sixth NHL hat trick on December 6, 2001, Roberts became just the sixth player in league history to reach 350 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes. Roberts also became only the second player in NHL history to reach 50 goals and 200 penalty minutes in the same season when he accomplished the feat for the 1991-92 Calgary Flames.
Roberts teamed up with Leafs Alumni members Lanny McDonald, Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour, Rob Ramage, Ric Nattress, and Jamie Macoun as the Calgary Flames captured the 1989 Stanley Cup on Montreal Forum ice. It was the only time the Cup was ever awarded to the visiting team in Montreal. Roberts trophy case also includes the 1995-96 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy which recognized his qualities of perseverance and dedication to hockey after appearing in only eight games due to injury the year before. Roberts eventually sat out the 1996-97 campaign before resurrecting his career from a serious neck injury and playing another 11 seasons before retiring.
The North York, Ontario native overcame numerous significant injuries during his NHL career to appear in 1,224 regular season games with Calgary, Carolina, Toronto, Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. The left-winger tallied 438 goals, 471 assists, 909 points and 2,560 minutes in penalties. In four seasons with Toronto (2000 to 2004), the alternate captain collected 83 goals and added 74 assists for 157 points in 237 games.
A fan favourite, Roberts and teammate Mats Sundin represented the Leafs at the 2004 NHL All-Star Game in Minnesota.