Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet, dies at 84

Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet, dies at 84

Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, 12-time All-Star and two-time Hart Trophy winner, has died, the Chicago Blackhawks announced Monday. He was 84 years old.

“We send our deepest condolences to the Hull family,” the team said in a statement. “The Hull family have asked for privacy during this difficult time. They appreciate the sympathies sent to them.”

Hull, known during his playing career as Golden Jet because of his blond hair and speed on the ice, became beloved in Chicago for teaming up with Stan Mikita to help the Blackhawks win the Cup Stanley in 1961, ending a 23-year title drought. .

Following Mikita’s lead, Hull became known for curving his wooden stick blade in the 1960s and had one of the league’s most feared slap shots. His slap shot was reportedly clocked at 118 mph.

He played 15 seasons in Chicago and is the franchise career leader in goals scored with 604. For eight of those seasons, he played alongside his brother Dennis, who scored 298 goals with the Blackhawks. Bobby Hull won two Hart Memorial Trophies as the league’s most valuable player in 1964-65 and 1965-66, when he won the NHL scoring title for the third time in his career.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement called Hull “a true superstar with a gregarious personality.”

“When Bobby Hull took a slap shot, fans across the NHL stood in anticipation and opposing goaltenders braced,” Bettman said. “In his heyday, there was no longer a prolific goalscorer in all of hockey. … We send our deepest condolences to his son, Hockey Hall of Famer Brett, to the entire Hull family and to the countless fans of the hockey world who had the chance to see him play or who have since marveled at his exploits.

In 1972, Hull signed the first million dollar contract in professional hockey history (10 years, $1.75 million), leaving the Blackhawks and the NHL to join the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA in as a player/coach.

He played seven seasons in the WHA and helped the Jets win the Avco Cups in 1976 and 1978. He won two Gordie Howe Trophies as the league’s most valuable player in 1972-73 and 1974-75, a season in which he scored a career high. 77 goals.

He announced his retirement during the 1978-79 season, but decided to return the following season after the WHA merged with the NHL. He played 18 games with the Jets in 1979-80 and was traded to the Hartford Whalers, playing nine games for the team before retiring again.

Hull was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. His son Brett is also in the Hall of Fame, inducted in 2009 after a 19-season career in which he scored 741 goals. Bobby and Brett Hull are the only father and son to have each won the Hart Trophy. They were also the only father and son named to the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players in 2017.

Hull finished in the top three in goals scored in 10 NHL seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Only Gordie Howe (12) and Alex Ovechkin (11) have more such instances.

Bobby Hull’s number 9 is retired by the Blackhawks and Jets. This Winnipeg franchise moved to Arizona in 1996 and was renamed the Coyotes, who also retired Hull’s No. 9. The Coyotes did not retire the number in 2005 so Brett Hull could honor his father by wearing it.

Bobby Hull has 610 goals and 560 assists in 1,063 NHL regular season games. In addition to his two Hart Trophies, he won the league-leading Art Ross Trophy three times and won the 1965 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship combined with stellar play.

Although Hull played on the ice, he faced legal and family issues in his personal life.

He faced allegations of domestic violence from two of his three wives. His second wife, figure skater Joanne McKay, alleged that in 1966 he held her over a balcony in Hawaii and hit her with a shoe and in 1978 threatened her with a shotgun. loaded hunt. His third wife, Deborah, filed suit after an incident in 1984, but then dumped them. Hull, however, later pleaded guilty to punching an officer during his arrest and was sentenced to a $150 fine and six months of judicial supervision.

In 1998, Hull was criticized for telling the Moscow Times that the black population in the United States was growing too fast and that “Hitler had some good ideas” but “just went a bit too far”.

The Blackhawks announced last year that Hull would no longer be a team ambassador. The team said they were redefining the role of team ambassador following the deaths of Mikita in 2018 and Tony Esposito in 2021.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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