๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Bobby Hull: 1939-2023

Bobby Hull, the Canadian two-time league MVP and Hockey Hall of Famer whose accomplishments on the ice were almost as prominent as his checkered life off the ice, today was announced to have died at the age of 84.

Debuting for the bottom-feeding Chicago Black Hawks in 1957, the “Golden Jet,” known for his shock of long blonde hair, his break-neck speed and his evolution of using the slap shot, quickly made an impact alongside Stan Mikita, helping the Hawks to the 1961 Stanley Cup, their first title in nearly a quarter decade. Hull, who would spend fifteen seasons in Chicago, is the franchise leader in goals (604), led the league in points three times, and won the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP in 1965 and 1966, making history in 1966 by being the first player to surpass 50 goals in a season. Hull would send shockwaves through the hockey world in 1972, after player contract issues in the NHL came to a head with the upstart World Hockey Association, who offered Hull a historic $1.7 million contract to join the debuting Winnipeg Jets, seeing Hull the first major defector from the NHL’s legacy contract system. Hull would spend six seasons with the Jets until the WHA folded in 1979, winning two league MVP titles, along with the Avco World Trophy in 1976 and 1978, attempting an NHL comeback with both the Jets and Hartford Whalers in 1979-80 before retiring for good after a combined 22 pro seasons. Hull was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984, and was named as one of “The NHL 100” in 2017, alongside son Brett as one of the top one hundred players in the NHL’s first one hundred years.

Internationally, the Belleville, Ontario native may be best known for the time he did not play for Team Canada, being the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. As a member of the WHA, Hull was barred from joining the NHL-led Team Canada alongside his brother Dennis, despite pleas from fellow players, the media and the Canadian public, and was forced to spectate when the Series passed through Winnipeg for Game 3. Hull joined the WHA-led Team Canada for the second iteration of the Summit Series in 1974, scoring seven goals and nine points in a losing effort. Hull was the lone WHA player at the inaugural Canada Cup in 1976, notching five goals and eight points in seven games en route to Canada’s first Cup victory over Czechoslovakia. Hull’s impact on international hockey was also felt in the WHA, as it was the “Hot Line” of Hull alongside Swedes Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg that first introduced North American fans to European style-hockey at the professional level, quickly becoming the norm in first the WHA, and then the NHL.

We would be remiss, despite Hull’s massive influence on the sport, to not bring up the darker side of Hull’s life, marred by allegations of abuse by multiple women (including his wives), neglect of his children, alcohol abuse, controversial pro-Nazi and racist comments, and run-ins with the law, ending up in Hull’s dismissal as a Blackhawks team ambassador in 2022. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the Hull family.

Photo Credit: Classic AuctionsIIHF โ€“ HHOF โ€“ IOC



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