Bill Barilko

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Bill Barilko
Born (1927-03-25)March 25, 1927
Timmins, ON, CAN
Died c. August 26, 1951(1951-08-26) (aged 24)
Cochrane, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Right
Played for Hollywood Wolves (PCHL)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1945–1951

William "Bashin' Bill" Barilko (March 25, 1927 – c. August 26, 1951) was a Canadian ice hockey player who played his entire National Hockey League career for the Toronto Maple Leafs.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Barilko was of Ukrainian descent and had a brother, Alex, and sister, Anne.[3]

Professional career[edit]

In February 1947, Bill Barilko was called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs from the PCHL's Hollywood Wolves and played for Leafs until his death.[4] He was assigned sweater #21 when he debuted for the Leafs. He changed to #19 for the 1948-49 and 1949-50 seasons. The #5 (which was retired by the Leafs) was only worn by Barilko for one season, 1950-51. During that span of five seasons, Barilko and the Toronto Maple Leafs were Stanley Cup champions on four occasions 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951.[5] The last goal he ever scored (in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens' Gerry McNeil in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, on April 21, 1951) won the Maple Leafs the Stanley Cup.[2]

Disappearance and death[edit]

On August 26, 1951, Barilko joined his dentist, Henry Hudson, on a flight aboard Hudson's Fairchild 24 floatplane to Seal River, Quebec, for a weekend fishing trip.[6] On the return trip, the single-engine plane disappeared and its passengers remained missing.[6] Eleven years later, on June 6, 1962, helicopter pilot Ron Boyd discovered the wreckage of the plane[7] about 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Cochrane, Ontario,[8][9] about 56 kilometers (35 miles) off course. The cause of the crash was deemed to have been a combination of pilot inexperience, poor weather and overloaded cargo.[10] Notably, the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup that year, after not winning it at all during the eleven years that he was missing.[8][8][10][11]

The Tragically Hip's song "Fifty Mission Cap", from their 1992 album Fully Completely, features Barilko's story and the lack of another Leafs championship with the lyrics "Bill Barilko disappeared, that summer (background singer : "in 1951"), he was on a fishing trip. The last goal he ever scored (Background singer : "In overtime"), won the Leafs the cup. They didn't win another, 'till 1962, the year he was discovered."[6][9]

Barilko is buried in Timmins, Ontario, Canada, at the Timmins Memorial Cemetery.


Barilko played in the 1947, 1948 and 1949 NHL All-Star Game, scoring a goal in the 1949 game.

Barilko won 4 Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs in 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1951

Barilko's #5 is one of only two numbers retired by the Maple Leafs (Ace Bailey's #6 is the other).[2][6][8]

Barilko's story was published in the 1988 book Overtime, Overdue: The Bill Barilko Story, by John Melady, and the 2004 book Barilko — Without A Trace, by Kevin Shea.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What are some Canadian stories that have not been told or potentially could be told?". Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  2. ^ a b c "Toronto Maple Leafs Team Alumni Bios: Bill Barilko". Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  3. ^ Hornby, Lance (April 20, 2011). "The legend of Bill Barilko". The Toronto Sun. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Maple Leafs History: 1940s". Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  5. ^ "Maple Leafs History: 1950s". Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Leafs pay tribute to Barilko". CBC. 2001-05-01. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  7. ^ Victims of Aviation Accidents or Incidents in Canada: Cal Jones, Billy Joe Booth, Jonathan Mann, Brice Herbert Goldsborough, Bill Barilko, ISBN 978-1-155-40830-9
  8. ^ a b c d Fitzpatrick, Todd (1999-06-07). "Bashin' Bill". The Sporting News. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  9. ^ a b "Millennium Moment: Fifty Mission Cap". University of Western Ontario Gazette. 1999-05-28. Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  10. ^ a b "Bashing Bill Barilko is Missing". CBC. p. "Did you know". Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  11. ^ "Maple Leafs History: 1960s". Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 

External links[edit]