Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - Bill Mosienko
One on One Treasure Chest Pinnacle
One on One with Bill Mosienko

21 MAY 2010
Mosienko and the Bentley brothers were named the 'Pony Line'
Mosienko was teamed with Doug Bentley and Max Bentley to form the famous "Pony Line" in 1945-46 and was selected to the NHL Second All-Star Team for the second consecutive season. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
While the achievements of a single game overshadow a terrific career, the accomplishments of Bill Mosienko were substantial enough to earn him Honoured Member status in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

William Mosienko was born November 2, 1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and learned to play the game on the local rinks of his hometown. Bill had already made quite a name for himself by the time he joined the Winnipeg Monarchs of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1939-40. There, he scored 21 goals in 24 games. By the next season, he had turned professional, splitting the season between the Kansas City Americans of the American Hockey Association and the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League.

With the Second World War raging in Europe, much of the NHL's talent had been siphoned off for the war effort. With a depleted line-up, Chicago summoned the twenty-year-old Mosienko, On February 9, 1942, Bill scored his first two NHL goals just 21 seconds apart. That time parameter would again play a key role in Mosienko's NHL career.

Roy Conacher and Bill Mosienko
Roy Conacher and Bill Mosienko during the days in Chicago. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
In spite of scoring 6 goals and contributing 8 assists in 12 games, Mosienko was returned to the Kansas City Americans to complete the season. The next season, Bill appeared in two more games for the Hawks, scoring twice, but it wasn't until the 1943-44 season that he caught on full-time in Chicago. That season, 'Wee Willie' scored career-bests in goals (32) and points (70), finishing eighth in NHL scoring that season.

As a sophomore, Mosienko finished sixth in NHL scoring (28 goals and 26 assists), and was selected for the league's Second All-Star Team. But astonishingly, the lightning-quick winger went through the 50-game season without incurring a single penalty, and also earned the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL's most gentlemanly player.

Mosienko missed two months due to a broken ankle
Mosienko played in five league All-Star games during his 14-year NHL career including the 1947 All-Star Game in Toronto where Jim Thomson of the Leafs broke Mosienko's ankle causing him to miss the first two months of the season. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
Johnny Gottselig, the coach of the Black Hawks, matched Mosienko's speed with the playmaking skills of Doug and Max Bentley, creating The Pony Line, one of the most productive lines in Chicago's long history. "The Black Hawks' publicity man, Joe Farrell, came up with the name," Mosienko told Stan Fischler for 'Hockey's 100.' "The three of us were so small and every time we'd go for the puck, we'd give it a little bounce." The trio clicked immaculately, and tore up the NHL for the next few seasons. In 1945-46, Max Bentley was the league's scoring leader with Mosienko finishing sixth. Bill was again selected as the NHL's Second Team All-Star right winger. In 1946-47, Max again topped the NHL, while Doug finished sixth and Mosienko ninth.

In 1945, Bill Mosienko captured the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
(Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
In the All-Star Game that preceded the 1947-48 season, Bill suffered a broken ankle after being checked by Jimmy Thomson of the Maple Leafs. Shortly afterwards, a trade sent Max Bentley to Toronto, thus concluding The Pony Line's reign as the best scoring line in the NHL. Nevertheless, Mosienko continued contributing substantially to the Black Hawks' offence, in spite of the fact the Chicago missed the playoffs in each season but one from 1946-47 until Mosienko's NHL career ended at the conclusion of the 1954-55 season.

In 1951-52, Bill enjoyed one final hurrah. That season, he finished seventh in NHL scoring, finishing with 31 goals and 53 points. Included in those 31 goals were three that established Mosienko's status in the NHL record books. On the final night of the season, playing on a line with centre Gus Bodnar and left winger George Gee, Bill Mosienko scored his hattrick in just 21 seconds, the fastest three goals scored by one player.

Bill Mosienko turned pro with the Chicago Black Hawks at the age of 18
Bill Mosienko turned pro with the Chicago Black Hawks at the age of 18.
(Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
After 1954-55, Bill returned home and along with NHLer Alf Pike, established professional hockey in Winnipeg by creating the Winnipeg Warriors of the Western Hockey League, and continued his own hockey career. In his first season with the Warriors, Bill contributed significantly as the team won the WHL championship, then defeated the Quebec Hockey League champs to earn the Edinburgh Trophy as the top minor professional hockey team in Canada. He would earn All-Star status in the WHL in 1956-57, 1957-58 and 1958-59, his final seasons of play, and then turned to coaching. During that time, Bill was selected as Manitoba's Athlete of the Year in 1957. After retiring from hockey, he opened Billy Mosienko Lanes, a bowling alley.

Through a 14-season NHL career, one played entirely in Chicago, Mosienko scored 258 goals and 282 assists for a total of 540 points in 710 regular season contests. He also totalled 14 points (10 goals and 4 assists) in 22 playoff games.

In 1965, Bill Mosienko was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joined on that day by players Marty Barry, Clint Benedict, Art Farrell, Red Horner, Syd Howe, Jack Marshall, Blair Russel, Ernie Russell and Fred Scanlan as well as Builders Foster Hewitt and Tommy Lockhart.

On July 9, 1994, Bill Mosienko succumbed to cancer at the age of 73, ending the life of one of hockey's finest forwards and the holder of a scoring record unlikely to be equalled.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.