The Maple Leaf by the Numbers Series continues with No. 5. With it being the first of only two players on this list that has been retired, the choice was pretty easy.
Other Notable No. 5’s
Charlie Conacher, Bob Davidson
The most interesting thing is that even though it was the number that was retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs was only worn by Bill Barilko for his final season with the Leafs. He wore No. 21 for his first two seasons and No. 19 for the next two. However, since there is no stat that I can find on how long others wore the number five, Barilko has to go here.
Born in Timmins, Ontario, Barilko played a season and a half with the Hollywood Wolves of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. 47 games into the 1946-47 season, he was called up to the Maple Leafs and played the final 18 games of the NHL season. The defenseman would go on to record three goals and seven assists for a total of 10 points. He would also play in 11 games in the playoffs as the Leafs would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
In his sophomore season, 1947-48, he would play 57 games and score 5 goals and adding 9 assist for 14 points. He would also lead the NHL in penalty minutes with 147. He would play another nine games in the playoffs as the Leafs would win another Cup.
The 1948-49 season would see Barilko play in all sixty games for the Leafs. It would be the only time he would play in every game of a season. It would also see a dip in points as he recorded only nine points. However, the Leafs would win the Cup for the third time in a row with Barilko in the lineup.
That streak would end in the 1949-50 season. However, Barilko would have his best offensive season. He recorded seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points.
Unfortunately, as we all know, the 1950-51 season would be his last. He recorded 12 points in 58 games in the regular season but he is remembered for what he did in the Stanley Cup Finals. He scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 5 in what is one of best Leafs moments that have been frozen in time.
After the season, Bill Barilko would go on a fishing trip, but his plane crashed. He died and his body would not be discovered until 1962. Coincidentally, the Leafs would not win another Cup until that year.
But The Tragically Hip could tell you that.