Bill Moe

When Billy Moe played in the NHL from 1944 through 1949, he was part of a definite minority in the league. He was an American.

In fact only two other players in the NHL during that time span were Americans - Frankie Brimsek and John Mariucci. All three are are US Hockey Hall of Famers while Brimsek is a Hockey Hall of Famer and Mariucci is inducted as a builder.

But back to Moe. Moe was a defensive defenseman who was largely overlooked because of his quiet contributions to team. He used to uniquely crouch down tightly to check an opposing forward and had a reputation as a rock solid stay at home blueliner and shot blocker.

Such aggressive bodychecking of course would make Moe a target - but not from who you would think. Opposition players never really tried to punish Moe for his low blow. Instead, Moe became the target of Madison Square Garden camera lenses! So ununusal were Moe's hits that cameramen would single in on him alone for the entire game in hopes to obtain the perfect capture of of Moe's talent.

The best known photo was taken by Andy Lopez of Acme Newspictures. In it, Moe checks Toronto Maple Leaf forward Gaye Stewart during the 1947-48 season. Stewart is perfectly upside down in the photo.

Born in Danvers, Massachusetts but grew up in Minneapolis where he first picked up the game of hockey. He joined the EHL in unusual hockey cities like Atlantic City and Baltimore before the AHL's Hershey Bears signed him. The AHL of course was desperate for players as they, like the NHL, were losing players to WWII commitments. Had it not been for the war, Moe might never have been give the chance to play at the AHL level.

With the Bears he dominated the AHL 1942 through 1944. He was named as the AHL's MVP in 1944 and quickly attracted the attention of the NHL at the point. It was Lester Patrick's New York Rangers that landed the AHL MVP.

Moe played a strong but quiet role for 5 years in New York. With the war over, NHL teams were once again stocked with the best talent. While Moe never got the chance to play the same role as he had in the minors, he certainly never looked out of place in the big leagues either.

After Moe's 5 years with the Rangers, Moe returned to Hershey to finish his career by the 1953 season.


Unknown 10:20 AM  

Bill Moe was my great uncle. I would very much like to have a copy of the photo by Andy Lopez that is mentioned in this article. If anyone knows where I can get a copy I would really appreciate it.

Ken W

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