Bobby Hull dies at 84: Former Blackhawks star had a checkered past

Bobby Hull dies at 84: Former Blackhawks star had a checkered past

Bobby Hull, the former Blackhawks star nicknamed the “Golden Jet” with a legacy tarnished by off-ice transgressions, has died.

He was 84 years old.

“Hull is part of an elite group of players who have had a historic impact on our hockey club,” the Hawks said in a statement Monday. “’The Golden Jet’ helped the Blackhawks win the 1961 Stanley Cup and brought countless memories to our fans, whom he loved.

“Generations of Chicagoans have been blown away by Bobby’s shooting prowess, skating skills and overall team leadership. … We send our deepest condolences to the Hull family.

Hull remains the Hawks’ all-time leading scorer with 604 goals, racked up during a 15-year tenure with the team from 1957 to 1972.

His death comes less than a year, however, after the Hawks parted ways with him as a team ambassador.

A native of Point Anne, Ont., Hull became a star in his third season of 1959-60, scoring 39 goals and 81 points, and never looked back. He broke the 30-goal mark in 13 consecutive seasons and eclipsed the 50-goal mark five times, including a career-high 58 goals and 107 points in 1968-69.

He played a major role in the Hawks’ championship in 1961, finishing second on the team in regular season and playoff points. He received the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1965 and 1966.

His jump from the NHL to the World Hockey Association in 1972, signing with the Winnipeg Jets, gave the WHA its first moment of legitimacy. He had seven productive seasons with the Jets, then returned to the NHL in 1979 for a brief final season before retiring. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

But Hull’s history of inappropriate off-ice conduct – marred by widespread allegations of domestic abuse and racism – has long overshadowed his on-ice accomplishments.

Hull was convicted in 1987 of assaulting a police officer who intervened in an argument between Hull and his wife Deborah. A 2002 ESPN mini-documentary included his previous wife, Joanne, recounting a fight in which Hull beat her in the head with a steel-heeled shoe and then restrained her on a balcony in Hawaii.

Hull’s daughter Michelle, who became an advocate for abused women, also detailed Hull’s history of alcoholism in this documentary.

In 1997, a Russian publication quoted Hull praising Hitler for his “good ideas”, saying the black population was growing too fast and expressing support for genetic selection. Hull denied the comments and sued the post at the time.

Hull was nevertheless chosen in 2008 to become a team ambassador for the Hawks alongside Chris Chelios, Denis Savard and the late Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito. Three years later, the team erected a statue of Hull and Mikita along Madison Street outside the United Center.

Hull held that ambassadorial role until last season, when he and the Hawks “jointly agreed” that he “would step back from any official role with the team,” the team said in a statement. February 2022.

“When I took over the organization when my father passed away in 2007, one of my first priorities was to meet with Bobby and convince him to return as a team ambassador,” said the Hawks president Rocky Wirtz in a statement Monday. “His connection with our fans was special and irreplaceable. On behalf of the entire Wirtz family, I offer you our deepest condolences.

Hull’s son, Brett, actually surpassed his father’s stats during his own hugely successful NHL career from 1987 to 2006. He’s the Blues’ all-time leading scorer.


Bobby Hull (left) meets Blackhawks fans in 1959.


Bobby Hull (left) celebrates the Blackhawks Stanley Cup title in 1961.


Bobby Hull is introduced at the 2016 Blackhawks Convention.

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