Bill Barilko: Toronto Maple Leafs Legend


His Legend Grows

It was April 21st, 1951, game 5 of the Stanley Cup final between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. At the 2:53 mark of the first overtime period, Bill Barilko scored the last goal of his life winning the Stanley Cup for the Leafs.

The 24 year old defenseman perished in a light plane crash that summer while on a fishing trip to Northern Ontario. Not until his body was recovered 11 years later in the bush near Cochrane, Ontario, did the Leafs win another championship.

I recently received several documents from the daughter of Ron Boyd who was the helicopter pilot who found the crash site of Bill Barilko. I also recently conducted an interview with Kevin Shea, author of "Barilko: Without a Trace".

Video Of Barilko's Last Goal

The Call Of The Goal

This brief video of the goal gives us a listen as to how it was heard on April 21, 1951.

The Top Leafs Goal

Global TV's Jim Tatti tells us about #1, off the stick of Bashin' Bill Barilko.

Ken Dryden on Bill Barilko

Dryden tells us why Barilko's goal matters.

Barilko's Career Statistics

Bill Barilko's Regular Season Statistics
Year Team Games Goals Assists Points Penalty min.
1946-47 Maple Leafs 18 3 7 10 33
1947-48 Maple Leafs 57 5 9 14 147
1948-49 Maple Leafs 60 5 4 9 95
1949-50 Maple Leafs 59 7 10 17 85
1950-51 Maple Leafs 58 6 6 12 96
Totals: 252 26 36 62 456
Bill Barilko's Playoff Statistics
Year Team Games Goals Assists Points Penalty min.
1946-47 Maple Leafs 11 0 3 0 18
1947-48 Maple Leafs 9 1 0 1 17
1948-49 Maple Leafs 9 0 1 1 20
1949-50 Maple Leafs 7 1 1 2 18
1950-51 Maple Leafs 11 3 2 5 31
Totals: 47 5 7 12 104

Pictures

The famous goal
The Goal.

The final resting place of Bill Barilko
The final resting place of Bashin' Bill Barilko.

My brothers and I in our Leaf jerseys.  I'm wearing Bill Barilko's #5
My brothers and I in our Leaf jerseys. #5 Forever.

Bill Barilko
Bashin' Bill Barilko

Bill Barilko's goal remembered on a Maple Leaf Garden's Leaf Ticket Stub
Bill Barilko's goal remembered on a Maple Leaf Garden's Ticket Stub.

The card that inspired the Tragically Hip to record 50 Mission Cap
The card immortilized by The Tragically Hip in Fifty Mission Cap.

The Tragically Hip's "Fifty Mission Cap" Lyrics

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored won the Leafs the cup
They didn't win another until 1962 the year he was discovered
I stole this from a hockey card I keep tucked up under
My fifty mission cap I worked it in to look like that

Notes

He's our Buddy Holly, immortalized by the Hip's "Fifty Mission Cap", and scorer of the 1951 Stanley Cup winner for my beloved Maple Leafs. Every year, his legend grows. Here are some additional links of interest.

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Comments (13)

Doug Munroe

Very interesting, I am really impressed by the research you've done. As a patriotic Canadian, I love searching out the history of the greatest game ever created! Thank's for such a great site...Cheer's!

July 17, 2009 / 15:44

Roshan

I first heard about him in the Hip song but I couldn't make out the name. Then I read about him in your blog and it connected. He may have lived a short life but his legend lives on.

September 20, 2009 / 00:08

Elizabeth S. Brinton

I remember my brother, the late Tom Smythe, hearing on the radio that Barilko's body had been found. He kept shouting, "Its a sign, its a
sign!" In our family, you could never say, "we are going to win the cup," not out loud, because that might jinx it, but that is what he
meant. When we did win, Tom said he knew it when he heard about Barilko.

There is a film clip of my grandfather shaking Barilko's hand after the famous goal and the picture hanging in the Gardens said it all. Scott
Young describing, "Barilko flat out.." Yes, Barilko played a great part in Leaf history, in the legend, and he, like so many others, was gone too soon.

November 21, 2009 / 13:24

Oksanna Crawley

I've written a children's book and Bill Barilko is one of the main characters. It's called "So, You Be Keon and I'll Be Mahovlich". You can order it from Amazon.ca and soon from Chapters-Indigo.ca It's aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but I think anyone would enjoy it. Barilko is one of my favourite players, too.

December 16, 2009 / 10:38

Pete Hollingworth

Live in the UK but have read everything about Bashin Bill after a piece in our local hockey teams (Nottingham Panthers) match night programme some years ago got my attention. Visiting Toronto for the first time next month, but won't have time to head up to Timmins. Great site and great memories of a great hockey player.

January 16, 2010 / 05:51

Oksanna

Hi, Mike: Just wanted to let you know that my book about Bill Barilko - So, You Be Keon and I'll Be Mahovlich - is now available at the Hockey Hall of Fame! I am so honoured. Chapters at Bloor and Runnymede has it on the shelf, too.

April 10, 2010 / 21:29

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Oksanna

I have "So, You Be Keon and I'll Be Mahovlich" here and I'm going to read it with my kids. Then, I promise to review it on my blog. Stay tuned... it looks great!

April 10, 2010 / 21:44

Robert

Cal Gardner gave me a play by play of Barilko's goal the day the Gardens closed in 1999. His commentary was like it had just happened-so crystal clear.

April 22, 2010 / 10:41

scott dickinson

I just would like to let you know that my 11 year old son got hooked on the Hip song and significance of the story ,and is now doing his Grade 6 speech on Mr Barilko. He found this useful as part of his research....Thanks!!!!

February 7, 2011 / 16:17

Marilyn

I have been going through my late husbands momentos, and have come across an autograph of Bill Barilko as well as one of Goody Rosen. Would you know if someone would want to buy these?

February 21, 2011 / 22:36

Bill McMaster

John Melady published a book called "Overtime, Overdue: The Bill Barilko Story"...this is a most interesting read for fans of Bill Barilko, or, for those just interested in the Maple Leaf History. A dramatic story about a legendary hockey player....

March 19, 2011 / 21:06

Leah

Have faith Leafs followers. Brian Burke is aware of precisely what he is accomplishing. Grant it all some time.

July 6, 2011 / 18:26

James Benesh

"I remember my brother, the late Tom Smythe, hearing on the radio that Barilko's body had been found. He kept shouting, 'Its a sign, its a sign!' In our family, you could never say, "we are going to win the cup," not out loud, because that might jinx it, but that is what he meant. When we did win, Tom said he knew it when he heard about Barilko."

See, that's one part of the legend that most people have backwards, to the point that your late brother's memory even mixed it up. It would sure make a nice story to say that the Leafs were "cursed" to never win a cup until Barilko's remains were found, but the facts are that they won the cup in April of 1962, and they found his body June 6th, 1962. So exactly what your brother thought it was a sign of, we'll never know, but it wasn't a sign that they were going to win the cup, unless he meant the 1963 cup.

January 17, 2016 / 22:40

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