Bobby Hull

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Bobby Hull
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1983
Bobby Hull Chex card.jpg
Hull with the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1960s
Born (1939-01-03) January 3, 1939 (age 83)
Point Anne, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 191 lb (87 kg; 13 st 9 lb)
Position Left wing
Shot Left
Played for Chicago Black Hawks
Winnipeg Jets
Hartford Whalers
National team  Canada
Playing career 1957–1980

Robert Marvin Hull OC (born January 3, 1939)[1] is a Canadian former ice hockey player who is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. His blonde hair, skating speed, end-to-end rushes, and ability to shoot the puck at very high velocity all earned him the name "The Golden Jet". His talents were such that one or two opposing players were often assigned just to shadow him.

In his 23 years in the National Hockey League (NHL) and World Hockey Association (WHA), Hull played for the Chicago Black Hawks, Winnipeg Jets, and Hartford Whalers. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player twice and the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading point scorer three times, while helping the Black Hawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961. He also led the WHA's Winnipeg Jets to Avco Cup championships in 1976 and 1978. He led the NHL in goals seven times, the second most of any player in history, and led the WHA in goals one additional time while being the WHA's most valuable player two times. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, and received the Wayne Gretzky International Award in 2003.[2][3] In 2017 Hull was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.[4]

Early life[edit]

Hull was born in Pointe Anne, Ontario. He was the son of Lena Cook and Robert Edward Hull, a cement company foreman.[5] He played his minor hockey in Belleville, and then Junior B hockey for the Woodstock Warriors in the fall of 1954. Hull led the Warriors to the 1955 Sutherland Cup as 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 career[edit]

NHL career[edit]

Hull with the Blackhawks in 1968

Hull had a solid debut year finishing second in the Calder Memorial Trophy. Hull originally wore numbers 16 and 7 as a Black Hawk but later switched to his famous number 9, a tribute to his childhood idol Gordie Howe. By his third season (1959–60), he led the league in goal- and point-scoring (the Art Ross Trophy), a double feat which he also achieved in 1961–62 and 1965–66. He led Chicago to the Stanley Cup in 1961—their third overall and first in 23 years. He finished second in point-scoring three further times.

On March 12, 1966, the Golden Jet became the first NHL player to score more than 50 goals in a season, surpassing Maurice Richard's, Bernie Geoffrion's and his own mark of 50 goals. His 51st goal, scored on Cesare Maniago of 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. That same year, Hull set the record for the most points in a season with 97, one more than the previous record set by Dickie Moore 7 years earlier. His point total was tied the next year by teammate Stan Mikita and their record was broken three years later by Phil Esposito. Hull led the league in goal-scoring seven times during the 1960s. In 1968–69, despite Hull breaking his own goals in a season record by four goals in (netting 58) and setting a career NHL high of 107 points (second in the league that year), 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 than all other players in NHL history combined up until that point in time.

In his 15 full NHL seasons he was voted the First-Team All-Star left winger ten times and the Second-Team All-Star left winger twice. His slapshot was once clocked at 118.3 mph (190.5 km/h) and he could skate 29.7 mph (47.8 km/h).[6] During his drive to be the first to eclipse the 50 goal mark, Hull's wrist shot was claimed to be harder than his slapshot.[7]

WHA career[edit]

Long unhappy with his poor salary as one of hockey's preeminent superstars, Hull responded to overtures from the upstart World Hockey Association's Winnipeg Jets in 1972 by jesting that he would 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 as a player/coach for a contract worth $1.75 million over 10 years plus a $1 million signing bonus. Although his debut with Winnipeg was held up in litigation by the NHL, Hull instantly became the WHA's greatest star winning the Gordie Howe Trophy as league MVP in 1972–73 and 1974–75. With Swedish linemates Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson he 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 performance was during the 1974–75 season, when he scored 77 goals to set a new professional mark, while adding 65 assists for a total of 142 points, five behind the league leader, one of two times he finished second in the point-scoring race in the WHA. In the five WHA seasons in which he played more than half the schedule, he was voted a First-Team All-Star thrice and a Second-Team All-Star twice, while tallying 50 goals and 100 points four times each.

Because he joined the rival league, Hull was not allowed to represent Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, which pitted Canada's top NHL players against the USSR's national team. Two years later, a second Summit Series was held in which Hull and other top WHA stars (including Gordie Howe, who had been retired from the NHL at the time of the initial Summit Series) competed against the Soviet 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 and three assists in seven games.

Bobby Hull rule[edit]

Hull and teammate Stan Mikita were catalysts for a 1960s craze where players curved the blades of their hockey sticks, which became widely referred to as "banana blades".[8] Hull is the player typically linked most to the rule that banned this practice because of the potential danger to goalies, few of whom wore masks in that era.[8] The curved blade made the puck's trajectory unpredictable. The rule originally limited the blade curvature to between one-half and three-quarters of an inch; in 1970, it was set at one-half-inch.[8] NHL Rule 10.1 currently limits the curvature to three-quarters-inch.[9]

Later career and retirements[edit]

Slowed by injuries and age, Hull played only a few games in the WHA's final season of 1978–79. 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, bringing the two-time Gordie Howe Trophy winner together with the 51-year-old Howe himself (who, after Hull's initial contest with the Whalers, told the press, "The kid looks good in his first game."). Hull played effectively in nine games (two goals and five assists) and three playoff games before retiring once more to care for his partner, who had been injured in an automobile accident.[10]

In September 1981, Hull attempted one final comeback with the New York Rangers at age 42, at the suggestion of Rangers coach Herb Brooks, who wanted to try reuniting Hull with his former Jets teammates, Hedberg and Nilsson.[11] The comeback attempt lasted five exhibition games, during which Hull had one goal and one assist, before he and the Rangers both decided it was best to end the comeback.[11] It was the second time in Hull's career that he had played exhibition games with the Rangers; in 1959, after missing the playoffs the previous spring, the Rangers and the Boston Bruins had been sent on an exhibition tour of Europe, and then-emerging star Hull and Eddie Shack were added to the Rangers' roster for the tour. Hull and Shack co-led the Rangers in scoring, each netting 14 goals over the 23-game tour.[12]

Hull ended his career having played in 1,063 NHL games, accumulating 610 goals, 560 assists, 1,170 points, 640 penalty minutes, three Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies (he finished second or third in the voting an additional six times), a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, and a Stanley Cup Championship, adding 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. His North American major league professional total of 1,018 goals (NHL and WHA including playoffs) is the third most of all-time after Wayne Gretzky (1,109) and Gordie Howe (1,071), although the NHL does not recognize scoring statistics from the WHA in players' career totals.

Post-playing career[edit]

In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Besides his Hall of Fame induction, Hull's no. 9 jersey has been retired by the Black Hawks, the Jets, and their successor team, the Arizona Coyotes. When Bobby's son Brett Hull joined the Coyotes, they unretired the number for Brett to wear during his brief stint there to honour his father. Evander Kane, who wore number 9 for the current Winnipeg Jets franchise, sought and received Hull's permission to wear the number.

In 1998, Hull entered controversy after he allegedly made pro-Nazi comments. According to The Moscow Times he was quoted as saying, "Hitler, for example, had some good ideas. He just went a little bit too far."[13] Hull later denied having complimented Hitler and said journalists had raised the subject.[14] The incident was parodied on the Canadian news satire show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, with Rick Mercer reading a spot saying Hull had been misquoted, and had actually said, "Sittler had some good ideas."

In 2003, he was named the figurehead commissioner of a new World Hockey Association, intended to operate during the 2004–05 NHL lockout; it never entered play, and the organization subsequently ran several ephemeral low-minor league and unsanctioned Tier II junior leagues. Hull served as an ambassador for the Blackhawks through part of the 2021-22 season until the organization announced, "When it comes to Bobby, specifically, we jointly agreed earlier this season that he will retire from any official team role."

Personal life[edit]

Hull in 2006

Hull's ancestors had immigrated to Canada from Slovakia. Hull'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 which brother 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.

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.[15]

Hull was romantically involved with a woman named Claudia Allen. In 1980, Hull retired from the Hartford Whalers to take care of Allen, who was injured in a severe automobile accident.[10] The couple never married and around 1983 they parted ways.


Hull has five children with Joanne: sons Bobby Jr., Blake, Brett, Bart, and daughter Michelle.

Hull's third oldest son, Brett Hull (the "Golden Brett"), was a hockey star too, finishing his own illustrious NHL career with 741 goals, still the fifth-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 NHL season and more than 600 NHL goals. They are also the only father-and-son tandem to win the Hart Memorial Trophy (Bobby twice and Brett once) and Lady Byng Trophy and to lead the league in goal scoring (Bobby seven times and Brett three times). While playing for the Phoenix Coyotes (formerly the Winnipeg Jets) in 2005, Brett donned his father's retired No. 9 for the last five games of his career.

Bart Hull was a standout running back for the Boise State University Broncos football team in the late eighties and 1990, and played with the Ottawa Rough Riders and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL as well as one season of professional indoor football prior to recurring injuries. Post football, he briefly played professional hockey with the Idaho Steelheads.

Bobby Jr. and Blake both played junior and senior hockey. Bobby Jr. 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, 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.

In July 1981, Claudia Allen gave birth to Hull's younger daughter, Jessica. Jessica graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Elementary Education and currently resides in Minnesota.

Bobby Hull Community Rink[edit]

Bobby Hull Ice Rink - Cicero, IL
Bobby Hull Ice Rink - Cicero, IL
Bobby Hull Ice Rink - Cicero, IL

The Town of Cicero, Illinois created a public outdoor rink in his name. The rink hosts skating lessons, public skate, public Stick & Puck, High School Hockey games, and more.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

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 1170 640 119 62 67 129 102

* Stanley Cup Champion.

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Postseason
G W L T Pts Finish Result
WIN 1972–73 78 43 31 4 90 2nd in Western Lost in Avco Cup Finals
WIN 1973–74 78 34 39 5 73 4th in Western Lost in Quarterfinals
WIN 1974–75 13 4 9 0 (8) (resigned)
Total 169 81 79 9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UPI Almanac for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019". United Press International. January 3, 2019. Archived from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019. hockey Hall of Fame member Bobby Hull in 1939 (age 81)
  2. ^ "Bobby Hull". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  3. ^ "Bobby Hull wins Gretzky award". The Globe and Mail. July 31, 2003. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "100 Greatest NHL Players". January 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Rayner, William (2011). Nicole Chaplin (ed.). Canada on the Doorstep: 1939. Canada: Dundurn Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-55488-993-8.
  6. ^ "Hawk on the Wing". Time magazine. Time Inc. March 1, 1968. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  7. ^ William Leggett (January 25, 1965). "In the boldest attack yet on hockey's seemingly – 01.25.65 – SI Vault". Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c Wyshynski, Greg (August 19, 2010). "The 10 best player-inspired NHL rules changes". Yahoo! Sports.
  9. ^[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ a b Clarity, James (September 10, 1981). "Hull Shows Spirit in Ranger Tryout". The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b Clarity, James F. (October 9, 1981). "Hull Fails to Make Rangers". The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Kreiser, John; Smith, Lou Friedman; foreword by Neil (1996). The New York Rangers : Broadway's longest-running hit. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Pub. p. 139. ISBN 1571670416.
  13. ^ "BOBBY HULL TO MOSCOW PAPER: HITLER HAD SOME GOOD IDEAS". Chicago Tribune. August 26, 1998. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Hull Denies Remarks on Hitler, Blacks". Los Angeles Times. August 27, 1998. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  15. ^ "ESPN Classic – Hull helped WHA into hockey family". Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  16. ^ "TIME Magazine Cover: Bobby Hull - Mar. 1, 1968". Time. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007.
  17. ^ "Honoured Members Database - Bobby Hull". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  18. ^ "WHA Hall of Fame Members". January 1, 2004. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  19. ^ "Bobby Hull". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  20. ^ Kuc, Chris (October 22, 2011). "Moving moment for Hull and Mikita". Retrieved June 27, 2018.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy
1965, 1966
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by NHL goals leader
1966, 1967, 1968, 1969
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Position created
Rudy Pilous
Head coach of the original Winnipeg Jets
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Position created
Commissioner of the WHA
Succeeded by
Position abolished