Maple Leaf Gardens Lifetime Gold Pass Presented to Bill Barilko 1947
The solid gold pass, approximately the size of an extra thick quarter, was issued to Barilko his rookie season for his role in securing the first of four Stanley Cup Championships enjoyed during his five years of Maple Leafs service. Raised text on the obverse adorns a logo Leaf, reading "Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club, Stanley Cup Winners 1947." Obverse addresses the functionality of the important relic, announcing, "Pass, W. Barilko, World's Champion to Maple Leaf Gardens Any Time." The facsimile signature of the team president is below.
He scored the 1951 Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five, and then four months later he was gone, vanished, seemingly forever. The stark juxtaposition of ecstasy and tragedy supplied to the fans of the Maple Leafs in such a short span of time by their beloved star defenseman proved to be too much for Toronto hearts to take, and the team suffered through an eleven-season Championship drought as the Leafs reeled from the sudden loss. The curse was finally broken in 1962, the same year a helicopter pilot named Ron Boyd located the wreckage of an old floatplane deep in the remote Canadian wilderness, bringing an end to the mystery of Barilko's disappearance.