February 04, 2017

Billy Taylor

With a name like Billy the Kid, you'd figure Billy Taylor was some sort of outlaw. Actually, he was.

NHL president Clarence Campbell banned Taylor from the NHL for life on March 9, 1948 after it was proven that the New York Ranger center had been betting on hockey games, although he was cleared of any charges of actually trying to fix the games. Boston Bruin Don Gallinger, a teammate of Taylor for most of the year prior to Taylor's late season trade to New York, was also suspended for life on that day.

Earlier in the decade Toronto Maple Leaf Walter Pratt was suspended for gambling. "Babe" was suspended indefinitely after he was accused of betting on games not involving his own team. However the ban was lifted after nine games in a plea bargain.

Taylor's suspension severely tarnished his reputation as one of the game's brightest stars. Taylor was a brilliant playmaker - a "Gretzky-esque" player of his day. Taylor finished in the top 10 of scoring in 3 of his first 5 seasons. Taylor went on to even set a record that only Wayne Gretzky could equal - but not better. On March 16, 1947 Taylor set up 7 goals!

After starring with the OHA's Oshawa Generals, Billy played for 4 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before his career was put on hold to serve in World War II for 2 years. Upon his return, Taylor was bounced around from Toronto to Detroit to Boston to the New York Rangers. In his final season his production actually slipped to less than half a point of game.

After being banned for life by the National League, Taylor was all but exiled in most levels of hockey. He and Don Gallinger both were reinstated in 1970.

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