Tragically Hip song about a Ukrainian Canadian

Ever hear the Tragically Hip‘s song Fifty Mission Cap (click to listen)?  It’s a song about Bill Barilko, a talented Ukrainian Canadian hockey player who played his whole NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs winning them four Stanley Cups in 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1951.  Barilko scored the overtime goal against the rival Montreal Canadiens’ Gerry McNeil in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final on April 21, 1951 to clinch the Cup. In the off season he embarked on a fishing trip where his plane disappeared and none of the passengers were found.  The Maple Leafs would not win another Stanley Cup until the year they found his body 11 years later in 1962, ‘the Barilko Curse’This popular Canadian song tells that story, off their 1992 album Fully Completely.

There are plenty more great Ukrainian Canadian stories detailed hereThe ‘Hip is a popular band in Canada.

Edit:  Here are some of the lyrics:

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer,
he was on a fishing trip.

The last goal he ever scored
won the Leafs the cup

They didn’t win another until 1962,
the year he was discovered.

Fifty-mission caps are the peaked uniform caps of Allied airmen of WW2.  Wearing a crushed, beat-up cap was an unspoken testament to many missions flown and would confer upon the wearer the panache of a seasoned vet in the officer’s mess, or out on the town on leave.

Related Articles

Stay connected! Become a Fan on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, Subscribe with RSS feeds or Sign-up for E-Mail updates.


2 thoughts on “Tragically Hip song about a Ukrainian Canadian

  1. That’s the second song I’ve heard of that’s about a Ukrainian Canadian hockey player… the first being Billy Mosienko by The Kubasonics. I wonder if there are more out there?

    A very interesting, if sad, story about Bill Barilko.

    Great post, Andrew. Thanks.

  2. I’ve never heard of this band before. If you have this song, send it over. Luckily Fifty Mission Cap plays all the time on the rock stations here in Toronto. Thanks CRTC for your mandatory 20% airtime of Canadian music!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *