Life after 500 fights: the legend Gaetz, the Missing Link

Drafted by the Minnesota North Stars to protect star player Mike Modano, former NHLer Link Gaetz finally picked himself up in Quebec to break some jaws. He was recognized as one of the most dangerous brawlers in the world.


Nicknamed Missing Link, he was a terror on the ice, but also off the ice. Nothing stopped him, even the police were afraid of him.

Paul Thibault was co-owner of the Promutuel de Rivière-du-Loup in the early 2000s. It was he who took him out of New Brunswick where he was living penniless.

The team gave him $400 per game with rent, car and meals provided. Except that Gaetz arrived with his demons: he had serious consumption problems that he had dragged on for a long time.

The native of British Columbia said he was “barred” in 49 of the 51 bars between Spokane, the city of his junior team, and Vancouver.

He had also participated in therapy as part of the NHL program with Nordiques players Bryan Fogarty and John Kordic. Both met a tragic end.

“Come Get Your Monster”

Paul Thibault was the one who had the heavy task of “managing” him. The colossus didn’t take orders from anyone else. “He was making threats around town. The police called me to tell me: come and get your monster”.

Once he really feared for the life of the colossus. “The police had found him on the ground in a tunnel without a coat, in short sleeves, in the middle of winter”.


Link Gaetz, pictured after being drafted in the 2nd round by the Minnesota North Stars in the NHL.  His two black eyes are the result of a fight in a bar the day before the draft.

Courtesy picture

Link Gaetz, pictured after being drafted in the 2nd round by the Minnesota North Stars in the NHL. His two black eyes are the result of a fight in a bar the day before the draft.

Despite everything, the owner affirms that if he had to do it again, he would hire Gaetz. “He put people in the cabin”. He adds that several before him tried to help the strong man in his fight against drug addiction, without success. “I couldn’t do anything,” repeats Mr. Thibault.

Dangerous

Confronting Link Gaetz was not easy, but confronting the angry Missing Link was almost like a date with death.

The color holder of Saint-Georges, André Falardeau, who had shaken Gaetz in a first confrontation, knows something about it.

After this fight, Link Gaetz repeated that Falardeau’s hours were numbered. The revenge came, the scene was violent.


The strongman's visit to Rivière-du-Loup marked his teammates so much that former team goalkeeper Dany Lavoie was offered a life-size Link Gaetz for his 40th birthday.  In the photo, Lavoie and Francis Garand pose with the sign.

Courtesy picture

The strongman’s visit to Rivière-du-Loup marked his teammates so much that former team goalkeeper Dany Lavoie was offered a life-size Link Gaetz for his 40th birthday. In the photo, Lavoie and Francis Garand pose with the sign.

Tough guy Christian Leblanc was in the stands that night. “What few people know is that he [Falardeau] almost died. Another good right in the right place and he was dead dead.

Just with the stories of Link Gaetz, a multi-page trivia book could be published.

While he was in the stands of an arena due to a suspension, he had decided, for fun, to turn a chemical toilet upside down. A child of about ten was in the cabin. Gaetz found the situation very funny in front of spectators overwhelmed by the events.

Living in accommodation paid for by the team, he had the idea of ​​buying mice at the pet store to entertain his cats. However, the rodents had hatched and the building was infested, much to the dismay of the owner.

Link Gaetz no longer has any contacts in Quebec. Despite several attempts, we were unable to speak to him. He would live in British Columbia.

Link Gaetz’s career in brief

  • 2,482 penalty minutes in 394 games (NHL, professional and senior)
  • Nearly 500 career fights (1988 to 2007). He played 65 NHL games with Minnesota and San Jose, including facing Bob Probert and Joey Kocur. His nickname “Missing Link” says a lot about his reputation in Quebec.
  • He is currently in British Columbia


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