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Bobby Hull

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Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull.jpg
Born January 3, 1939 (1939-01-03) (age 78)
Pointe Anne, ON, CAN
Height
Weight
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
208 lb (94 kg; 14 st 12 lb)
Position Left wing
Shot Left
Played for NHL
 Chicago Black Hawks
 Winnipeg Jets
 Hartford Whalers
WHA
 Winnipeg Jets
Ntl. team Flag of Canada.svg Canada
Playing career 1957–1980
Hall of Fame, 1983

Robert Marvin "Bobby" Hull, OC (born January 3, 1939) is a former Canadian ice hockey player. He is regarded as one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time and perhaps the greatest left winger to ever play the game. Hull was famous for his blonde hair, blinding skating speed, and having the hardest shot, earning him the nickname "the Golden Jet". He possessed the most feared slapshot of his day. In his 23 years in the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association, he played for the Chicago Black Hawks, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers.

Hull was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Hull was born in Pointe Anne (now part of Belleville), Ontario. He played his minor hockey in Belleville, and then Jr. 'B' hockey for the Woodstock Athletics in the fall of 1954. Although the Sarnia Legionnaires and the Waterloo Siskins were the Jr. 'B' powerhouses of the 1950s, Hull threw a wrench into their domination, leading the Athletics to the 1955 Sutherland Cup as all-Ontario champions. Later, he played for the Galt Black Hawks and the St. Catharines Teepees in the Ontario Hockey Association, before joining the Chicago Black Hawks in 1957 at the age of 18.

Playing careerEdit

NHL careerEdit

Hull quickly blossomed into a star, finishing second in the rookie of the year balloting his first season. Hull originally wore numbers 16 and 7 as a Blackhawk but later switched to his famous number 9, a tribute to his childhood idol Gordie Howe. By his third season, he led the league in goal- and point-scoring. He went on to lead the Chicago Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup in 1961—their third overall and first in 23 years. He and teammate Stan Mikita were the most formidable forward duo of the Sixties, notorious for curving the blades of their sticks. Armed already with a blazing, heavy shot, his curved blade caused the puck to veer high and at all different angles. Hull's ability to harness the blade's unpredictability made it one of hockey's most memorable signatures.

Although he stood only 5'10", Bobby had a solid build and his playing weight was 185 pounds. His electrifying style made him one of hockey's first international superstars and arguably the NHL's marquee star of the Sixties.

On March 12, 1966, he became the first NHLer to score more than 50 goals in a season, surpassing Maurice Richard and Bernie Geoffrion's hallowed mark of 50 goals. His 51st goal against the New York Rangers earned him a seven-minute standing ovation from the Chicago Stadium faithful. Hull eventually scored 54 goals that season, the highest single season total of the Original Six era. He led the league in goal scoring seven times during the Sixties. Despite Hull breaking his own record by four goals in 1968–69, the Hawks missed the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season. By his final NHL season, he had scored 50 goals or more a remarkable five times. This was only one time less time than all other players combined.

His slapshot was once clocked at 118.3 mph (190.4 km/h) and he could skate 29.7 mph (47.8 km/h).[1] During his drive to be the first to eclipse the 50 goal mark, Bobby's wrist shot was claimed to be harder than his slapshot.[2]

WHA careerEdit

Long unhappy because of his relatively poor salary in the period when he was hockey's preeminent superstar, Hull responded to overtures from the upstart World Hockey Association's Winnipeg Jets in 1972 by jesting that he'd jump to them for a million dollars, a sum then considered absurd. Gathering the other league owners together to contribute to the unprecedented amount on the grounds that inking such a major star gave instant credibility to the new rival league that was competing directly against the entrenched NHL, Jets' owner Ben Hatskin agreed to the sum, and signed Hull for a contract worth $1,000,000 over ten years. Although his debut with Winnipeg was held up in litigation by the NHL, Hull instantly became the WHA's greatest star, and with Swedish linemates Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson formed one of the most formidable forward lines of the 1970s (known as "The Hot Line"), leading the Jets to two AVCO Cups during his time with the club. His best year was 1975, when he scored 77 goals to set a new professional mark.

Because he joined the rival league, Hull was not allowed to represent Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. However in 1974 he got his chance to play on the international stage when he suited up for the WHA team representing Canada in a series against the USSR national team. The WHA lost the series four games to one (three ending in a tie), despite Hull's seven goals. He was a key member of the Canadian squad that won the 1976 Canada Cup, though, scoring five goals in seven games.

RetirementEdit

Slowed by injuries and age, Hull played only a few games in the WHA's final season of 1979. However, after the 1979 merger of the two leagues (including the Jets) and reportedly in financial straits, Hull came out of retirement to play once more for the NHL Jets. He played in eighteen games before being traded to the Hartford Whalers for future considerations, and played effectively in nine games and three playoff games before retiring once more to care for his partner who had been injured in an automobile accident.[citation needed]

In September 1981, Hull attempted one final comeback with the New York Rangers at age 42. However, it was a very brief attempt that only lasted five exhibition games before Hull and the Rangers both decided it was best to end the comeback. Hull had one goal, and one assist in those five games.

Hull ended his career having played in 1063 NHL games, accumulating 610 goals, 560 assists, 1170 points, 640 penalty minutes, three Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies, a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, a Stanley Cup Championship and adding 102 penalty minutes, 62 goals and 67 assists for 129 points in 119 playoff games. He played in 411 WHA games, scoring 303 goals, 335 assists and 638 points, adding 43 goals and 37 assists in 60 playoff games.

In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Beside his Hall of Fame induction, Hull's #9 jersey has been retired both by the Blackhawks and the Jets (and is still honored by the Jets' successor team, the Phoenix Coyotes. When Bobby's son Brett Hull joined the Coyotes, they unretired the number for Brett to wear during his brief stint there to honor his father.)

In 1998, Hull got involved in a controversy with the Russian media when he allegedly made pro-Nazi comments. According to the Associated Press he was quoted as saying, “Hitler, for example, had some good ideas. He just went a little bit too far."[3] He later claimed the interviewer misunderstood him in the translation. The incident was satirized by the Canadian mock news show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Host Rick Mercer read a spot saying Hull has been misquoted, that he had actually said, "Sittler had some good ideas." The reference was to former National Hockey League star Darryl Sittler.

In 2003, he was named the figurehead commissioner of a new World Hockey Association, intended to operate during the NHL lockout in 2004-05; it never entered play, and the organization subsequently ran several ephemeral low-minor league and unsanctioned Tier II junior leagues. He currently serves as an ambassador for the Blackhawks' organization.

The Hull familyEdit

Bobby's younger brother Dennis (nicknamed "the Silver Jet"), starred alongside him with the Chicago Black Hawks for eight seasons, scoring over 300 goals in his own right. Some commentators often wondered whether Bobby or Dennis had the harder shot. When Bobby was excluded from the 1972 Summit Series because he played in the WHA, Dennis initially planned to boycott the event as well as a show of support for his brother, but Bobby persuaded him to stay on Team Canada.

Bobby's third youngest son, Brett Hull (the "Golden Brett"), was a more glittering star yet, finishing his own illustrious career with the third-highest goal total in NHL history. Bobby and Brett are the only father-and-son tandem to achieve the marks of more than 50 goals in a season and more than 600 NHL goals. They are also the only father-and-son tandem to win the Hart Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy. While playing for the Phoenix Coyotes (formerly the Winnipeg Jets) in 2005, Brett donned his father's retired #9 for the last five games of his career. Bobby and Brett are the only father and son combination in any professional sport to both have their numbers retired. Bobby's #9 was retired by the Chicago Black Hawks and Winnipeg Jets (now Phoenix Coyotes) and Brett's #16 was retired by the St. Louis Blues.

Bobby's other sons were Bobby, Blake, and Bart. Bart was a standout running back for the Boise State University Bronco's football team in the late eighties and 1990, and played with Ottawa Rough Riders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL as well as one season of professional indoor football prior to recurring injuries. Post football, he played professional hockey with the Idaho Steelheads.

Bobby Jr. and Blake both played junior and senior hockey. Bobby won the Memorial Cup with the 1980 Cornwall Royals. Later, they played together for the Allan Cup-winning Brantford Mott's Clamatos of the OHA Senior A Hockey League (AAA Men's Amateur) in 1987. Bobby Jr. also possessed a powerful shot, but lacked the scoring touch of his father and brother Brett.

Hull's daughter, and youngest child, Michelle, was an accomplished figure skater becoming British Columbia Pre-Novice Champion at the age of 11. After many knee injuries, she concentrated on her schooling and is now an attorney licensed in two states.

Hull's marriage to Joanne McKay ended in divorce in 1980 after several abusive incidents. In 1986, he was accused by Deborah, his third wife, of assault and battery. She eventually dropped the charges.[4]

Awards and achievementsEdit

File:Bobby Hull - Chicago Black Hawks 1960 - LAC -E002505660.jpg

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1954–55 St. Catharines Teepees OHA 6 0 0 0 0
1955–56 St. Catharines Teepees OHA 48 11 7 18 79 6 0 2 2 9
1956–57 St. Catharines Teepees OHA 52 33 28 61 95 13 8 8 16 24
1957–58 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 13 34 47 62
1958–59 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 18 32 50 50 6 1 1 2 2
1959–60 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 39 42 81 68 3 1 0 1 2
1960–61 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 67 31 25 56 43 12 4 10 14 4
1961–62 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 50 34 84 35 12 8 6 14 12
1962–63 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 65 31 31 62 27 5 8 2 10 4
1963–64 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 43 44 87 50 7 2 5 7 2
1964–65 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 61 39 32 71 32 14 10 7 17 27
1965–66 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 65 54 43 97 70 6 2 2 4 10
1966–67 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 66 52 28 80 52 6 4 2 6 0
1967–68 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 71 44 31 75 39 11 4 6 10 15
1968–69 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 74 58 49 107 48
1969–70 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 61 38 29 67 8 8 3 8 11 2
1970–71 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 78 44 52 96 32 18 11 14 25 16
1971–72 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 78 50 43 93 24 8 4 4 8 6
1972–73 Winnipeg Jets WHA 63 51 52 103 37 14 9 16 25 16
1973–74 Winnipeg Jets WHA 75 53 42 95 38 4 1 1 2 4
1974–75 Winnipeg Jets WHA 78 77 65 142 41
1975–76 Winnipeg Jets WHA 80 53 70 123 30 13 12 8 20 4
1976–77 Winnipeg Jets WHA 34 21 32 53 14 20 13 9 22 2
1977–78 Winnipeg Jets WHA 77 46 71 117 23 9 8 3 11 12
1978–79 Winnipeg Jets WHA 4 2 3 5 0
1979–80 Winnipeg Jets NHL 18 4 6 10 0
1979–80 Hartford Whalers NHL 9 2 5 7 0 3 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 1063 610 560 1,170 640 119 62 67 129 102
WHA totals 411 303 335 638 183 60 43 37 80 38

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Hawk on the Wing". Time magazine (Time Inc.). 1968–03–01. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,941234-1,00.html. Retrieved 2007–04–09. 
  2. William Leggett (1965-01-25). "In the boldest attack yet on hockey's seemingly - 01.25.65 - SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1076832/index.htm. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  3. Report: Hull says Hitler had some good ideas "High Beam Research", Associated Press (08-26-98). Retrieved on 10-12-08
  4. [1]
  5. Time. http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19680301,00.html. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Jean Béliveau
Winner of the Hart Trophy
1965, 1966
Succeeded by
Stan Mikita
Preceded by
Dickie Moore
Bernie Geoffrion
Stan Mikita
Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
1960
1962
1966
Succeeded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Gordie Howe
Stan Mikita
Preceded by
Jean Béliveau
Bernie Geoffrion
Gordie Howe
Norm Ullman
NHL Goal Leader
1960
1962
1964
1966, 1967, 1968, 1969
Succeeded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Gordie Howe
Norm Ullman
Phil Esposito
Preceded by
Ken Wharram
Winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
1965
Succeeded by
Alex Delvecchio
Preceded by
Office created
Commisioner of the WHA
2003-05
Succeeded by
Office abolished

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