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Robert Marvin "Bobby" Hull, OC (born January 3, 1939) is a retired Canadianmarker 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 fastest 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 Famemarker in 1983.

Biography

Early life

Hull was born in Pointe Anne (now part of Bellevillemarker), Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. He played his minor hockey in Belleville, and then junior hockey 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 career

NHL career

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 would later switch 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 most recent) 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 would make it one of hockey's most memorable signatures.

Although he stood only 5'10", Bobby had a solid build (he grew up on a dairy farm) and his playing weight was 185 pounds. His electrifying style would make 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 NHL 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 Stadiummarker faithful. (After the game Rangers' goalie Cesare Maniago claimed that the Black Hawks' winger Eric Nesterenko had interfered with him during the play: "Nesterenko got the blade of his stick under mine and kind of lifted it and pushed it aside, and the puck got past my stick on the left side.") Hull would eventually score 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, only one fewer than every other player in history who had done so combined to that date.

His slapshot was once clocked at 118.3 mph (190.4 km/h) and he could skate 29.7 mph (47.8 km/h).

WHA career

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 would give 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 Cup 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 USSRmarker 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.

Retirement

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.

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 Russianmarker 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." 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 family

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 Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets (now Phoenix Coyotes) and Brett's #16 was retired by the St. Louis Blues.

Bobby's other sons included: Bart Hull, a standout running back for the Boise State Universitymarker Bronco's football team in the early 1990s, and briefly played with BC Lions prior to a recurring knee injury.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.

Awards and achievements

Bobby Hull in 1960


Career statistics

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
WHA totals 411 303 335 638 183 60 43 37 80 38
NHL totals 1063 610 560 1,170 640 119 62 67 129 102


See also



References

  1. Damata, Ted. "Stadium Is Bedlam After 51st By Hull." Chicago Tribune. March 13, 1966. p. C2
  2. Report: Hull says Hitler had some good ideas High Beam Research, Associated Press (08-26-98). Retrieved on 10-12-08
  3. http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19680301,00.html


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