It was summer 1951 in Ontario, Canada, and one of the nation’s most celebrated ice hockey stars was heading home after a fishing adventure in the province’s northern wilderness. But somewhere en route, his plane simply disappeared. For more than ten years, the missing Bill Barilko’s fate remained a mystery. And then a helicopter pilot, flying over the area where the star was last seen, spots something strange on the ground below.
William Barilko – known as Bill – was born on March 25, 1927, to a family of Ukrainian extraction in Timmins, a small town in Ontario, Canada. At the time, the province was a prosperous area, with gold mines and attendant industries offering employment despite the Great Depression. However, life was not always easy for Barilko and his two siblings, brother Alex and sister Anne.
This was due to the fact that Barilko’s father had sadly died when the children were young, and his mother Faye struggled to raise them alone. And even though Barilko began playing ice hockey as a boy, nothing in his early efforts suggested that he would excel at the sport. In fact, he was initially assigned the role of goaltender as his skating skills left a lot to be desired.