Bill Cook

Bill Cook started his hockey career upon returning from service in the armed forces in the first World War. Having been given farm land by the Canadian government for his service in WWI, Cook headed out to Saskatchewan for four years he starred in the Western Canadian Hockey League with the Saskatoon Sheiks while tending to his farm. He won the scoring championship on three occasions including scoring 31 goals in 30 games in 1924-25. It marked the second time in three seasons that Cook led the WCHL in scoring.

The New York Rangers entered the NHL in 1926 and the Rangers purchased both Bill Cook, already 30 years of age, and his brother Fred ("Bun"), later adding Frank Boucher to form the Bread Line, one of the all time great trios in NHL history. In Cook's first season he captured the NHL scoring championship, scoring 33 goals in 44 games. He would go on to add 34 and 28 goal seasons. All three of those years he led the NHL in goal scoring.

However the four time NHL All Star's biggest goal came in 193 when he scored the overtime winner in the finals to give the Rangers the Stanley Cup. It was the Rangers second championship, as Cook captained the Rangers to the 1928 Stanley Cup as well.

A burly right winger with the desire or Rocket Richard and the physical prowess of Gordie Howe, Frank Boucher once proclaimed Bill to be better than both.

"He's my choice for the best right winger hockey ever knew" said Boucher, a fine player himself who is often referred to as the Gretzky of the 1930s and 1940s. "He was better than The Rocket and, in my estimation, better than Gordie Howe as well."

Cook, who scored the first goal in franchise history, played a very similar style to that of Gordie Howe - a hard and physically dominating style, overpowering his opponents, going through them instead of around them. But like Gordie he had some great skills as well, especially his nose for the net.

"Bill didn't have a bullet shot, or at least not a long bullet shot like the golf style slap shot Bobby Hull perfected" describes Boucher. "But he had a very hard wrist shot from close in and could score equally well backhand or forehand."

In 474 games with the Blueshirts, Cook tallied 229 goals and 138 assists for 367 points, along with 386 penalty minutes in 11 seasons in the Big Apple.

Following his playing days Bill tried his hand at coaching, including three years with the NHL Rangers.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952, Cook passed away on April 6th, 1986.

Many people think of Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Jari Kurri, or Mike Bossy as the greatest winger ever. We shouldn't forget the sharpshooter Bill Cook.


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