Bill Fairbairn

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Bill Fairbairn
Born (1947-01-07) January 7, 1947 (age 70)
Brandon, MB, CAN
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for New York Rangers
Minnesota North Stars
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 1967–1979

William John "Bulldog" Fairbairn (born January 7, 1947) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey right wing who played 10 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). Fairbairn played most of his career with the New York Rangers, later played for the Minnesota North Stars and St. Louis Blues, and retired early in the 1978-79 NHL season having accumulated 162 goals in his career.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Bill Fairbairn's hockey career began with his hometown's Brandon Wheat Kings, then of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), where he picked up he nickname "Bulldog" for his tenacious play.[2] He appeared in 4 games in 1963-64, as well as in 2 games for the Western playoffs for the 1964 Memorial Cup.[3] Fairbairn scored 315 points over the next 3 seasons in Brandon, including 142 (with 60 goals) in 1966-67 playing alongside Juha Widing and Erv Zeimer,[2] earning all-star honours in the process.[3] Signed by the New York Rangers in 1964,[4] Fairbairn earned a 3-game appearance with Rangers affiliate the Omaha Knights of the Central Professional Hockey League (CHL) in 1967. That Spring, Fairbairn was loaned to the Port Arthur Marrs of the Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League to play for them in the 1967 Memorial Cup.[2] Fairbairn then played the next 2 seasons with Omaha, earning Second Team all-star in 1968-69.[4]

Fairbairn made the Rangers roster as a rookie in the 1969-70 season, during which he scored 23 goals and finished second to Tony Esposito in balloting for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year.[2][4] Replacing the injured Bob Nevin, Fairbairn joined a line with left wing Dave Balon and center Walt Tkaczuk, a combination which became known as the "Bulldog Line".[2] The trio combined for 203 points that season, out scoring the Rangers' famed Goal-A-Game, or "GAG Line".[4] After the line had a particularly productive November, including a game against Boston in which the line accounted for 4 goals and 10 points, Rangers' general manager Emile Francis decided to keep the line together, even after Nevin recovered from his injury.[5] Fairbairn went on to play 8 seasons in New York. Linemate Balon was traded to Vancouver in 1971-72,[6] temporarily placing the Bulldog line on hiatus; the name was resurrected the following season when rookie Steve Vickers joined the team.[5] Playing alongside Tkaczuk and Vickers, Fairbairn had his most successful year as a pro, with a career high of 30 goals, and he led the Rangers in scoring in the playoffs that season as well.[4] Fairbairn remained a steady winger for the Rangers until being traded, along with Nick Beverley, to Minnesota for Bill Goldsworthy in November 1976.[4] He split his final 3 seasons between the North Stars and the Blues, retiring in November 1979.[1]

Bill Fairbairn is remembered by former Ranger goalie Gilles Villemure as a hard working, grinding player, a defensive forward who was effective killing penalties.[7] Ranger legend Rod Gilbert said of Fairbairn and teammate Walt Tkaczuk, "In Tkaczuk and Fairbairn we have the best penalty-killers in hockey."[8]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1963–64 Brandon Wheat Kings MJHL 4 1 1 2 2
1963–64 Brandon Wheat Kings Mem-Cup 2 1 0 1 0
1964–65 Brandon Wheat Kings SJHL 55 28 31 59 26 9 6 5 11 11
1965–66 Brandon Wheat Kings SJHL 60 36 76 112 94 11 5 12 17 6
1966-67 Brandon Wheat Kings MJHL 55 60 82 142 75 13 12 18 30 33
1966–67 Omaha Knights CPHL 3 0 0 0 2
1966-67 Port Arthur Marrs Mem-Cup 5 3 4 7 4
1967-68 Omaha Knights CPHL 70 23 33 56 46
1968-69 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 0 0 0
1968-69 Omaha Knights CHL 68 28 47 75 63 7 3 6 9 9
1969-70 New York Rangers NHL 76 23 33 56 23 6 0 1 1 10
1970-71 New York Rangers NHL 56 7 23 30 32 4 0 0 0 0
1971-72 New York Rangers NHL 78 22 37 59 53 16 5 7 12 11
1972-73 New York Rangers NHL 78 30 33 63 23 10 1 8 9 2
1973-74 New York Rangers NHL 78 18 44 62 12 13 3 5 8 6
1974-75 New York Rangers NHL 80 24 37 61 10 3 4 0 4 13
1975-76 New York Rangers NHL 80 13 15 28 8
1976-77 New York Rangers NHL 9 1 2 3 0
1976-77 Minnesota North Stars NHL 51 9 20 29 2 2 0 1 1 0
1977-78 Minnesota North Stars NHL 6 0 1 1 0
1977-78 St. Louis Blues NHL 60 14 16 30 10
1978-79 St. Louis Blues NHL 5 1 0 1 0
NHL totals 658 162 261 423 173 54 13 22 35 42

Awards and achievements[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bill Fairbairn Quits Hockey". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. 16 November 1978. p. 32. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Former Great To Be Honoured". Wheatkings.com. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Bill Fairbairn". Players. NHL.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Bill Fairbairn". All-Time Roster. New York Rangers.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Moran, Jay (2009). Rangers, the Bruins, and the end of an era. Authorhouse. pp. 169, 218. ISBN 978-1438989006. 
  6. ^ "Dave Balon, 68, Rangers Wing, Is Dead". The New York Times. Associated Press. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Gilles Villemure; Mike Shalin. Gilles Villemure's Tales from the Ranger Locker Room. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 62. ISBN 978-1582613871. 
  8. ^ Fischler, Stan (2001). Boston Bruins : greatest moments & players. Champaign, IL: Sports Pub. p. 256. ISBN 978-1582613741. 

External links[edit]