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Bill Barilko, wherever he is, must be smiling down on the Leafs tonight!

Steve Russell -Staff Photographer 

"No shortage of Cinderellas in any mining town,

All dream of coming back home wearing the Golden Crown,

Bill you wore the white and Blue,

Always looked so grand,

Came back in 51,

The biggest hero in the land."

                                                                                            -Charlie Angus and the Grevious Angels

                                                                   The Bill Barilko Song

It could be the spookiest sports story of them all.

The curse of the Bambino has nothing on this one or any of the curses that supposably hang over the Chicago Cubs.

Sixty years ago, Bill Barilko scored the Stanley Cup winning winning goal overtime in 1951, that summer he goes missing returning from a fishing trip. Despite one of the most extensive searches he is not found. The Leafs experience a Stanley Cup drought until the wreckage of his plane and his remains are found. Incredible!

If Paul Henderson's Summit series winner is "The Golden Goal" to Canadians, Barilko's Stanley Cup winner has to be "THE GOAL" for Leafs fans. Scored in overtime of the fifth game in the best of seven series against the Montreal Canadiens, it is a wonderful goal. And it is a wonderfully photographed goal as well.

I was lucky enough to photograph Anne Klisanich, Bill Barilko's sister, earlier in the week. I had a chance to look through her scrap books that the family kept surrounding his hockey career and his disappearence. It was also a challenge, Anne has been photographed by some of the best over the years and I wanted to make sure that I shot something that would rival those pictures. 

Anne Klisanich poses with a photo of her brother, former Leaf's defenceman Bill Barilko scoring the Stanley Cup winner. I consider this photograph taken by Nat Turofsky on the of finest hockey or sports pictures ever. Frank Lennon's Henderson goal and Ray Lussier's Bobby Orr goal are great, but Turofsky was shooting with a 4x5 camera. Incredible!


A replica Stanley Cup sits in Anne's apartment, one of her sons purchased it for her at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Barilko won the Cup four times.

Carelton wears a Maple Leafs number 5 pin from a previous Bill Barilko night.

Bill Barilko's 1951 jersey was part of a Hockey Hall of Fame display at the Air Canada Centre before a game that would honour his memory.

The puck that Bill Barilko scored the Stanley Cup winning goal was also part of a Hockey Hall of Fame display. Other items were his fishing pole, a piece of the airplane and a lighter that the City of Toronto presented to players for the win.

Bill Barilko's number 5, hangs high above the ice. No Leafs player has worn the number since 1951.

Bill Barilko's sister, Anne Klisanich and Howie Meeker, who assisted on Barilko's goal, drop the puck for former Leaf Tomas Kaberle and Leafs Captian Dion Phaneuf.

Howie Meeker shakes hands with former Leaf Tomas Kaberle.


Oh yeah, there was a hockey game too!

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak dumps pucks to start the warm-up.

Former Leaf Tomas Kaberle warms up.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer waits under the spot light during player introductions, he would save 35 of 37 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 in a must win game.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn fires the puck by Tim Thomas for the first goal of the game.

Former Leaf Tomas Kaberle gets a standing ovation as the Toronto Maple Leafs honour their former defenseman who played almost 900 games in the Blue and White.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson celebrates Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri's, right, first NHL goal.

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Fredrik Sjostrom (11)  celebrates  Mike Brown's (right) goal.

Zdeno Chara and Dion Phaneuf exchange pleasantries.

Dennis Seidenberg and goalie Tuukka Rask watch as the Leafs fifth goal of the game, this one by Keith Aulie goes in.

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Mike Brown crashes into Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. Brown would get two minutes for goaltender interference.

Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton is cut after a scrap with Dion Phaneuf. The cut was opened when Horton's head hit the ice.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer makes one of his 35 saves.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer takes his victory lap after being named the game's first star.



The Lyrics above are from Charlie Angus and the Grevious Angels. Angus is the Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay. The Bill Barilko Song can be found on iTunes.




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What a great sequence of photos. This was very enjoyable to see and your photography skills are second to none. Barilko was indeed a hero and thanks to his sister Anne his memory is still alive.

Another great series and story....

Awesome batch of photos & words from the game last night! Great work Steve!G

Fantastic work--and what a worthy subject Barilko is.

Thank you for this.

After I clicked the link and started to look at this I realized what song was playing ... Fifty mission cap and the lyrics being sung were "the last goal he ever scored in overtime won the leafs the cup."

Wow. A year and a half later I find this. I was at the game courtesy of DeWalt tools and actually got to hang out with Phaneuf after the game in the Leafs dressing room. Incredible photos. Thanks so much for the memories of that fantastic night!!

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