Hockey record for the ages

Bob Dunn
Distant Replay

One of the hockey fans in our family refuses to leave a game if there’s more than 21 seconds on the clock and one team is winning by three goals or less.

He calls it his “Billy Mosienko Rule.”

It was this month in 1994 when it became official: The hockey player with “the record that will never be broken” would never see it happen. Billy Mosienko died in Winnipeg that July, reviving memories of his three goals in 21 seconds, an accomplishment unmatched for 69 years and counting. It’s a record that has survived the curved stick, expansion with its diluted rosters, and the greatest number of talented scorers ever.

Think about it: 3 goals, 21 seconds. In today’s game of short shifts, most players aren’t even on the ice that long. Incredibly, 45 seconds after the third goal he missed an open net by inches…four goals in 66 seconds?

No, I was not there that March night in 1952, when Mosienko etched his name into hockey’s history book. In fact, when I first saw him play a few years after that, I didn’t know about the record. I didn’t even know he had played in the NHL! All I knew, as a Winnipeg kid, was that he was the best player on “my” team, the Warriors, and that he played on the best line in the league with Eddie Mazur and Skippy Burchell.

In Chicago, Mosienko had been on the best line on a bad team, a trio so small and so good that for two years and forever it was The Pony Line: the Bentley brothers and him, all of them under 5’9” and 160 pounds. At 30, Mosienko went back to Winnipeg, because the Hawks knew he wanted to end his playing days at home. He led the Warriors to the Edinburgh Trophy, hockey’s most prestigious silverware after the Stanley Cup.

He invested everything in a bowling alley with Joe Cooper, the defenceman who recommended Chicago sign Mosienko as a junior. The bowling alley is still there, with an outside wall consumed by an enormous mural of Mosienko’s face and the three pucks he used to set the record. He had an arena named after him. In October, just before his 100th birthday, there will be a new book authored by Ty Dilello. It’s called The Man Who Caught Lightning in a Bottle. That’s how hard it’ll be to break his record.

The Billy Mosienko Rule is safe.

Post expires at 11:59pm on Tuesday September 21st, 2021