Growing up in Port Arthur, this right-winger's dedication to hockey saw him enjoy a close to twenty year professional career. Successful on the diamonds during the 1920s, his success on the ice began as a rookie with the Port Arthur West End Juniors, the 1926-27 Memorial Cup finalists. On the forward line for the Port Arthur Seniors, he claimed the Allan Cup title in 1928-29.
Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National Hockey League for the 1929-30 season, the club was renamed the Philadelphia Quakers, with Cliff becoming a fan favourite and acquiring the nickname 'Little Caesar'. With the Depression underway, the club folded and Cliff was acquired by the New York Rangers in the dispersal draft held at the start of the 1931-32 season. With only eight NHL teams operating at the time, and the Rangers 15 man lineup pretty well established, Cliff set upon making a name for himself, to great success, in the highly competitive International and American Hockey Leagues.
Helping the Buffalo Bisons claim IHL honours in 1932-33, coach Frank Nighbor referred to 'Slippery Barton' and fellow Port Arthur linesman James 'Bud' Jarvis, as the best back checkers in the league. A smart playmaker and stylish skater, his scoring abilities shone through in 1933 when he scored all 4 of Buffalo's goals, including the overtime winner, in a game against Cleveland. Transferring his stick handling ability to golf between hockey seasons, he claimed back-to-back Strathcona Club and Invitational titles in 1934 and 1935, and the District Amateur title in 1938 and 1940. Hitting consistently for 250 yards he was known to reach beyond the 300 yard mark on occasion.
Joining the Philadelphia Ramblers of the AHL for the 1936-37 season, he added two more division titles to his record. Called up for some games with the Rangers during the 1939-40 season, he spent time with the St. Louis Flyers and New Haven-Washington before finishing up his career with the Pittsburgh Hornets following the 1943-44 season. Having played in 660 professional games, including 85 in the NHL, this outstanding athlete, who passed away in 1969, truly left his mark on our region's early sports heritage.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 29, 2001