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1950s / Bill Barilko Mystery
One of the oddest sports stories ever is the disappearance of Bill Barilko of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the spring of 1951, Barilko became a Leafs hero when he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens. That summer, Barilko and a dentist friend, Dr. Henry Hudson, flew to northern Quebec in the dentist's private plane to do some fishing on the Seal River. For their return home, they loaded the plane's pontoons with 120 pounds of fish they had caught, took off for southern Ontario--and were not seen alive again. The RCMP began a huge search for the missing men. (Some thought the police's interest in the case was far beyond what might be expected.) Nearly eleven years passed before the plane's wreckage was discovered in a densely wooded area of northern Ontario. The skeletal remains of Barilko and Hudson were found in the plane. Oddly enough, the plane was facing the opposite direction one would expect--and the 120 pounds of fish were not found in the pontoons. One persistent and fascinating rumor insists that Barilko, who hailed from a gold-mining community, was using his dentist friend as a mule to move a significant quantity of gold nuggets and dust he had illegally obtained from the mine. (Since dentists need gold for fillings, they have connections with gold suppliers.) The plane's pontoons had mysteriously been sliced open.