Leafs pay tribute to Barilko
Fifty years after his Stanley Cup heroics and tragic death, Bill Barilko is not forgotten.
In a tribute before the New Jersey-Toronto playoff game Tuesday night, eight of Barilko's teammates from the 1951 NHL-champion Toronto Maple Leafs were introduced, and images of Barilko's cup-clinching goal were shown on the giant video screen above centre ice.
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Anne Klisanich, 70, Barilko's last surviving sibling, was presented by The Tragically Hip with a plaque bearing the lyrics to the rock group's Fifty Mission Cap musical ode to Barilko, and the hockey card that inspired the song.
Barilko, a defenceman from Timmins, Ont., flipped in a backhand shot in overtime in Maple Leaf Gardens to win Toronto the Stanley Cup on April 21, 1951, in a five-game series with the Montreal Canadiens.
On Aug. 26, 1951, a single-engine private plane carrying Barilko, 24, and owned and flown by family dentist Dr. Henry Hudson, 47, disappeared in northern Ontario following a weekend fishing trip.
The wreckage and remains were found in dense bush 70 kilometres north of Cochrane in 1962 -- five weeks after Toronto had won the title for the first time since 1951.
Barilko's No. 5 jersey was retired in 1992, the same year Fifty Mission Cap was released.
It is one of only two Leafs jerseys to be retired.
Ace Bailey's No. 6 is the other.
The tribute began with a spotlight focused on Barilko's banner high above the ice.
Gus Mortson, Harry Watson, Danny Lewicki, Johnny McCormack, Bob Hassard, Fleming Mackell, Sid Smith and Cal Gardner were the former teammates who were introduced.
A portion of the song was played, and each member of The Tragically Hip gave Klisanich a hug upon joining her on the blue-carpeted ice preceding the presentation.
The capacity crowd of 19,000-plus began a "Go Leafs Go" chant as photographers captured the group and Watson raised his right hand to urge a louder chorus.