Right-winger Bill Fairbairn was an exemplary two-way forward who played 658 career games with three different teams. He recorded four-20 goal seasons in his career and was best known for staying with his check and introducing his man to the boards whenever possible.
The native of Brandon, Manitoba starred for the home town Wheat Kings in junior. He scored 254 points in his last two seasons and earned the nickname "Bulldog" for his tenacity on the ice. During the 1966-67 season Fairbairn formed one of the top lines in junior hockey with Juha Widing and Erv Zeimer. He was the property of the New York Rangers and spent two years with the CHL's Omaha Knights where he adjusted well to the rigors of the pro game. Fairbairn was placed on the league's second all-star team in 1969 and earned a one game look with the parent club that same year.
In 1969-70 Fairbairn impressed as a rookie with 23 goals and 56 points. Originally slated to be a checker, the industrious forward replaced the injured Bob Nevin on a line with Dave Balon and Walt Tkaczuk. The "Bulldog Line" was so proficient that Nevin was relocated to another slot when his health returned. The Rangers nominated Fairbairn for the Calder trophy and he went on to finish runner-up to Chicago's Tony Esposito. Fairbairn remained a regular on the team for over six years and helped the Blueshirts reach the Stanley Cup finals in 1972. His finest season came in 1972-73 when he scored 30 goals and formed a superb line with Tkaczuk and rookie Steve Vickers.
Early in the 1976-77, Fairbairn was traded along with defenceman Nick Beverley to the Minnesota North Stars for Bill Goldsworthy. He scored 29 points in 51 games for the Stars but was placed on waivers early the next season and claimed by the St. Louis Blues. Fairbairn played well during the last 60 games of the 1977-78 season and was the Blues' nominee for the Lady Byng trophy. The writing was on the wall at the start of the next season and the veteran retired five games into the 1978-79 schedule.