Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Drillon, Gordie

Drillon, Gordie

Gord Drillon had a short but spectacular career in the National Hockey League playing mainly with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a first team all-star in 1938 and 1939, a second team all-star in 1942, and NHL scoring leader and Lady Byng Trophy winner in 1938. He played in the 1939 Babe Siebert Memorial Game and won a Stanley Cup with Toronto in 1941-42 when the Leafs made their legendary comeback against Detroit.

Toronto was down three games to none in that best-of-seven final and Drillon was benched after the third game. The Leafs went on to win four games in a row to capture the Stanley Cup, the first and only time a team has rallied from 3-0 down to win the Cup. Although newspapermen and reporters wrote that he was bitter about being benched, Drillon told a different story. "I don't mind talking about it," he said. "Hap Day just told me that my style of hockey was not the same as the rest of the team, and we needed this to beat Detroit. And he was right. I was going bad at the time, no doubt about it."

Drillon's style of hockey was to park himself in front of the net and tip shots and swat at rebounds, and not worry about back-checking. "I spent ten years playing in the slot before anyone invented a name for it," he said later.

Hall of Fame goaltender and teammate Turk Broda knew of Drillon's goal-scoring abilities firsthand during Leaf practices. "I don't think there's a player in hockey who can shoot the puck more accurately," Broda once said. "Even if you leave him an opening the size of the puck, he'll hit it every time."

Accurate or not, the Leafs had had enough of Drillon's one-way style and sold him to Montreal prior to the 1942-43 season for $30,000. After one season with Montreal in which he scored at a point-per-game pace Drillon, at age 29, joined the war effort. He had played his last game in the NHL.

He played some hockey while in the service and returned to eastern Canada after the war to play senior hockey. His playing days gave way to coaching and, in turn, to scouting. He was welcomed back into the Maple Leaf family as their Maritime scout in the late 1960's, and recommended Errol Thompson to the Leafs brass.

Gord Drillon was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.

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