Bob Barlow was 34 years old when he made his NHL debut, at the time the oldest rookie in the league's history. He had quietly played for independent teams in the AHL and WHL for 14 years, earning a reputation as a goal scorer. He had a 47-goal season with the Seattle Totems in 1962-63 to lead the league, and more often than not reached the 30-goal plateau in minor pro.
Just when he seemed destined to quit playing, the Minnesota North Stars signed him in 1969, hoping he'd be an example to their stable of young left wingers. Barlow lasted one full season with Minnesota before he was sent down to the Phoenix Roadrunners in the WHL a few games into the 1970-71 season.
He finally ended his playing career in 1976 after 24 years and 522 goals in professional hockey. He was soon coaching some of the teams he had scored for and against over the years, beginning with the Tucson Mavericks in the CHL.