Skip to main content

Billy Burch

Billy Burch was born in Yonkers, NY in 1900. Although he grew up in Canada and played the game at an early age in the Toronto area, Burch is known as the first American born star in the National Hockey League.

Burch's career started with the Hamilton Tigers in 1923 where he teamed up with brothers Red and Shorty Green to form a high scoring line that took the Hamilton team from last place to serious Cup contender in 2 short seasons. The best season for Burch and the Tigers was 1924-25 when Billy won the Hart Trophy that season as the League's most valuable player. The Tigers were favorites to win the Cup, but the Hamilton players refused to take part in the post season unless each player received and additional $200 for playing extra games. It was hockey's first player's strike and it cost Burch his best shot at the Stanley Cup.

The Hamilton team was shifted to the US where it became the New York Americans in 1925. Burch, an excellent playmaker and stickhandler, was made captain. Since he was born in Yonkers he was quickly promoted as "the Babe Ruth of hockey" in order to drum up interest in hockey. A slick skater and playmaker, Burch kept the fans in the stands. Hockey became very popular in New York, partly due to Bill Burch's excellent play, and soon the NHL introduced a second New York team, the Rangers.

The 1927 Lady Byng Trophy winner, Burch starred with the Americans until 1932 when he was sold to Boston. The financially strapped Americans needed to sell their top players in order to pay the bills during the Great Depression. Burch disappointed in his stint with the Bruins and was traded to the Black Hawks, January 17, 1933 in exchange for Vic Ripley. Near the end of the 32-33 season, Billy broke his leg, and retired.

Burch played in 390 regular season games, scoring 137 goals and 53 assists. He died in 1950, 24 years before his induction into hockey's Hall of Fame.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M