Pete Babando

Pete Babando was a pretty solid hockey player for most of his National Hockey League career. However had he not scored one goal on April 23, 1950, he would most likely have vanished from memory as the years passed by. Instead, he is forever immortalized in hockey lore.

On that date the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings faced-off for the Stanley Cup. It was winner-take-all as the series was tied at 3 games a piece heading into the deciding 7th game. At the end of regulation time, the score matched the series as the teams were tied at 3. One of the all time classic games in NHL history, the game went into overtime but nothing was settled. A second overtime period was needed to decide the Stanley Cup championship.

After surviving a flurry of an attack by the Rangers where they almost scored, the Wings headed back up ice into the Rangers' zone. George Gee made a short pass to Babando, who also scored earlier in the game, who backhanded the puck on the net. Somehow, the puck eluded a screened Chuck Rayner, the Ranger goalie. At 8:30 of the second overtime period, the game was over and the Red Wings had won the Stanley Cup. In the process Pete Babando went from an otherwise unheard of skater to celebrated hero.

The humble Babando was usually too shy to talk about the goal much, but he was interviewed by The Hockey News 50 years later on the anniversary of the goal.

"We were at a faceoff in their end to Rayner's right," he recollected in an interview with Mike Gibb. "I was playing with Jacques Couture and George Gee, who took the faceoff. Usually, George had me stand behind him. But this time, he moved me over to the right and told me he was going to pull it that way. I had to take one stride and get it on my backhand. I let the shot go and it went in."

The Red Wings may have realized that Babando's status was at an all time high with that goal. In a quest to get a second straight Stanley Cup, Detroit GM peddled the new hero to the Chicago Blackhawks along with Dan Morrison, Al Dewsbury, Harry Lumley and Black Jack Stewart. The Wings got Bob Goldham, Gaye Stewart, Metro Prystai and Sugar Jim Henry in return. It was a big surprise to see the Wings make such drastic changes just a couple months after winning the Cup. It didn't work either, as the Toronto Maple Leafs won the 1951 Cup.

Babando, a native of Braeburn PA, had started his career with the Boston Bruins where he showed some offensive flash, scoring 23 goals in his rookie year (finishing second to Jim McFadden in Rookie of the Year voting) and 19 the year later before joining Detroit in the big Bill Quackenbush trade. Babando struggled royally in his only regular season with the Wings, scoring just 6 times. Of course he made up for it in the playoffs.

Babando returned to his usual steady production in Chicago. He scored 18 goals and a career high 37 points in his first year in Chicago. But his production slipped to 11 goals the following year. The Hawks were not a very good team during this time, and maybe too many unrealistic expectations were placed on the Stanley Cup hero.

The Hawks sold Babando in 1953 to, of all teams, the New York Rangers where he finished his NHL career scoring 4 goals and 8 points in 29 games. In total, Pete scored 159 points including 86 goals in 351 regular season games.


Anonymous,  1:47 PM  

why was his time with the minor league pro team the Boston olympics not listed?

Anonymous,  1:50 PM  

state that he played with the minor league team Boston olympics?

Anonymous,  7:30 PM  

its crazy that someones on the cup who was born in the same town i live in

Anonymous,  9:59 PM  

Pete Babando is still a Class Act!!!

Anonymous,  12:12 PM  

Pete Babando was a great hockey player and also still is a wonderful grandfather to me. He would have done better in the NHL but he suffered an injury playing baseball during the off season. Back in those days you played insured or not at all. He played injured and never had time to fully heal so he got moved back to AHL where he did some great playing. J. Babando

Derek 8:49 AM  

Hello J. Babando - I have been researching the Bruins from 1924 to the end of the 1947-48 season and have 40 + pages of Bruin information on the 1947-48 season. Your grandfather was the best Bruin rookie that season and finished 2nd in voting for rookie of the year honors in that season. I would like to be able to communicate with him via internet as postage is so high. Can you e-mail me at

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