|5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
147 lb (67 kg)
|Teams||New York Rangers|
Chicago Black Hawks
|Born||May 27, 1927,|
|Died||August 27 2006 (aged 79),|
St. Albert, Alberta
|Pro Career||1945 – 1960|
It was Hildebrand who scored the winning goal in the thrilling 3-1 victory over the Soviet Union to bring Canada, represented by the Belleville McFarlands, the gold medal at the 1959 World Championship in Czechoslovakia.
Belleville had rallied from a two game deficit to defeat the Kelowna Packers in seven games in the 1957-58 Allan Cup Final, in which all seven games were played in British Columbia. That earned the club an invitation from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to go to the world tournament the next season. Canada and the Soviets finished with identical records, but the McFarlands had beaten the Soviets in the only match between the two teams and also had an advantage in the goals-for and against differential.
When Bep Guidolin had left the Belleville club to play for the Windsor Bulldogs two years earlier, McFarlands manager Drury Denyes had made Hildebrand player-coach. Red Berenson, who had scored 46 goals in 51 games for the Regina Pats juniors the previous season, was probably the best player on the team, and there were others who surpassed Hildebrand in talent, but in naming him player-coach, Denyes was banking on his NHL experience.
Likewise, in making the final cuts to the roster prior to the World Championship, Hildebrand hung on to NHL vets like Al Dewsbury and Pete Conacher. As player-coach, Hildebrand was responsible for keeping track of all the line changes as well as taking a regular shift. Conditions in Czechoslovakia were quite a bit below what the former pros had been used to. While playing the preliminary round of the tournament in Bratislava, the McFarlands had to put their hockey uniforms on at the hotel, then take the bus to the arena.
A native of Winnipeg, Hildebrand played junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals in 1945-46 and 1947–48 and with the senior Toronto Marlboros in 1947-48. At Oshawa, he led all playoff scorers in the 1945-46 season with 21 goals and 32 points in only 12 games. He won a Calder Cup championship with the Cleveland Barons (1937-1973) of the American Hockey League in the 1952-53 season and earned a berth at right wing on the league's First All-Star Team. He led all goal scorers with 38, although he had only one goal and one assist in 11 playoff games.
Hildebrand played a total of 41 NHL games with the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks, recording seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points. In his very first game with Chicago in the 1953-54 season, he scored a goal and assisted on another as the last place Black Hawks embarrassed the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens 8-3 in front of a small crowd of close to 8,000 at Chicago Stadium.
Hildebrand was also a star lacrosse player.