Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Link Gaetz
The Missing Link. It was a nickname acquired by the burly defenseman early in his NHL career and it stuck - with good cause. Some newspaper scribes called him one of the most lovable yet shameless goons the NHL has ever seen. And, based on just some of the many outrageous stories, the description seemed to fit. Many found it hard to believe he was as bad as his reputation had made him out to be. He was always a clean cut, clean shaven, articulate blonde-haired young man. But the stories, they just kept mounting.

Gaetz was selected by the Minnesota North Stars in the second round, 40th overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft., ahead of such notable names as; Mark Recchi, Tony Amonte and Rob Blake. On reflection several years later Lou Nanne, general manager of the North Stars back then, had this to say about the 1988 draft year "In the first round we drafted Mike Modano to protect the franchise. In the second round we drafted Link to protect Mike and in the third round we should've drafted a lawyer to protect Link."

Gaetz grew up in the Vancouver area and played organized hockey since the age of seven. At 17 he played for the Quesnel Millionaires of the PCJHL and the Abbotsford Falcons of the BCJHL in 1985-86 where his penalty minutes were shockingly low. The following year he played 44 games of major junior hockey with the New Westminster Bruins and accumulated just 52 minutes in penalties to go along with his nine points. He also played in the BCJHL with the Merritt Centennials and Delta Flyers. In 1987-88, his final year of major junior eligibility, Gaetz joined the Spokane Chiefs and in 59 games with the club erupted for 313 minutes in penalties which led the team, despite his missing 13 league games, most due to suspensions.

In his first year of pro hockey in 1988-89, Gaetz suited up for 12 games with the North Stars, spending 53 minutes in the sin bin. He played in 17 games with the club over two seasons before being selected by the San Jose Sharks in the 1991 Dispersal Draft. Sharks' scout Chuck Grillo referred to Gaetz as "one of the meanest kids living." After his tumultuous 48 games with the Sharks came to a crashing halt he toiled in the minors but was never able to return to the NHL. Despite playing in just over half the games that season, Gaetz managed to find time to spend 326 minutes in the penalty box. That was the last the NHL saw of The Missing Link. No NHL team was willing to take on the enormous psychological baggage that accompanied him. During his tenure with San Jose he developed a loyal legion of fans, all of whom loved the pugilistic aspect of the game. In fact an intramural floor hockey club at the University of California at Santa Barbara gained notoriety when it named its team The Gaetz of Hell in honour of their hero.

In 65 NHL games, Gaetz had six goals, 14 points and 412 minutes in penalties. Noted NHL tough guy Tony Twist called Gaetz the hardest puncher he had ever faced in a fight while Gaetz himself said the toughest opponent he ever squared off against was Detroit's Joey Kocur. Gaetz was last believed to be living somewhere in Saskatchewan.

REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1985-86 Quesnel Millionaires PCJHL 15 0 7 7 4
1985-86 Abbotsford Falcons BCJHL 2 0 0 0 2
1986-87 New Westminster Bruins WHL 44 2 7 9 52
1986-87 Merritt Centennials BCJHL 7 4 2 6 27
1986-87 Delta Flyers BCJHL 16 5 10 15 26
1987-88 Spokane Chiefs WHL 59 9 20 29 313 10 2 2 4 70
1988-89 Minnesota North Stars NHL 12 0 2 2 53 -3
1988-89 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 37 3 4 7 192 5 0 0 0 56
1989-90 Minnesota North Stars NHL 5 0 0 0 33 -5
1989-90 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 61 5 16 21 318 9 2 2 4 59
1990-91 Minnesota North Stars Fr-Tour 3 0 0 0 32
1990-91 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 9 0 1 1 44
1990-91 Kansas City Blades IHL 18 1 10 11 178
1991-92 San Jose Sharks NHL 48 6 6 12 326 -27
1992-93 Nashville Knights ECHL 3 1 0 1 10
1992-93 Kansas City Blades IHL 2 0 0 0 14
1993-94 Cape Breton Oilers AHL 21 0 1 1 140
1993-94 Nashville Knights ECHL 24 1 1 2 261
1993-94 West Palm Beach Blaze SunHL 6 0 3 3 15 3 0 1 1 8
1994-95 San Antonio Iguanas CHL 13 0 3 3 156
1995-96 Mexico City Toreros NAAHL
1995-96 San Francisco Spiders IHL 3 0 0 0 32
1996-97 Madison Monsters ColHL 26 2 4 6 178
1997-98 Anchorage Aces WCHL 11 0 1 1 130 +6
1997-98 Miramichi Leafs NMSHL
1997-98 Miramichi Leafs Al-Cup 2 0 0 0 4
1998-99 Toledo Storm ECHL 1 0 0 0 2 0
1999-00 Easton Ramblers WGHL 11 0 0 0 112
2000-01
2001-02 Riviere-du-Loup Promutuel QSPHL 35 0 2 2 124 5 1 2 3 50
NHL Totals 65 6 8 14 412


Claimed by San Jose from Minnesota in Dispersal Draft, May 30, 1991.
Missed majority of 1992-93 due to injuries suffered in automobile accident, April 2, 1992. Traded to Edmonton by San Jose for Edmonton's 10th round pick (Tomas Pisa) in 1994 NHL Draft, September 10, 1993.
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