NHL Hall of Famer Bobby Hull dies

Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer Bobby Hull has died.

He was 84.

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Hull was known as the Golden Jet because of his blond hair and his speed on the ice, according to ESPN.

“The Chicago Blackhawks are saddened by the passing of Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull, a superstar for our franchise between 1957 and 1972,” the team said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Hull is part of an elite group of players who made a historic impact on our hockey club. The Golden Jet helped the Blackhawks win the 1961 Stanley Cup and delivered countless memories to our fans, whom he adored. Generations of Chicagoans were dazzled by Bobby’s shooting prowess, skating skill and overall team leadership that led to 604 career goals, a franchise record that remains to this day. We send our deepest sympathies to the Hull family.”

Hull joined the Blackhawks, making his debut on Oct. 8, 1957, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Chicago won 1-0, the newspaper reported. But it took a few days for him to score his first goal, which came on Oct. 22, 1957, against the Boston Bruins and started an eight-game point run.

Hull, following the lead of teammate Stan Mikita, was known to curve his hockey stick blade. Hull was said to have one of the most feared slap shots in the NHL supposedly registering 118 mph, ESPN reported.

The winger helped lead his team to become the Stanley Cup champions in 1961, bringing an end to more than two decades without a cup.

Hull played 15 seasons — eight of which were with his brother Dennis — with the Blackhawks and is the team’s all-time scorer with 604 goals.

He was the first NHL player to score more than 50 goals in a season, a feat he accomplished in 1966, the Tribune reported. He did it four times after.

Bobby Hull was also a back-to-back Hart Memorial Trophy winner —1964-65 and 1965-66 — as the league’s most valuable player. He also won an NHL scoring title three times.

Bobby Hull left the Blackhawks to join the Winnipeg Jets as a player and coach in the first $1 million contract in sports history in 1972. He played seven seasons with the Jets as part of the WHA, leading the team to win two Avco Cups. He also won two Gordie Howe Trophies as the WHA MVP in 1972-73 and 1974-75. In the latter season, he scored a career-high 77 goals.

“Anything I ever did was for the betterment of the game. Not money,” Hull said in 1988, according to the Tribune. “Money is crazy. You have to play hockey for more than that.

“I don’t regret anything I did. I regret that some jerks came along on my coattails and got paid for doing nothing. But when it comes to the game and the way I played it, I regret nothing. That was fun, and that’s the only reason to play.”

Bobby Hull had planned to retire during the 1978-79 season but came back when the WHA merged with the NHL, playing 18 games with the Jets before being traded to the Hartford Whalers. He played nine games there before retiring.

Bobby Hull was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

The Blackhawks and Jets — which is now the Arizona Coyotes — retired Bobby Hull’s No. 9, but it was unretired in 2005 so his son Brett Hull could wear his father’s number.

While he was a star on the ice, he had several incidents in his private life. Two of his three wives accused him of domestic abuse. In 1998, he told The Moscow Times that the Black population was growing too fast in the U.S. and said Hitler “had some good ideas” but “just went too far.” He later denied making the comment, calling the Russian newspaper reporting “false and defamatory,” ESPN reported.

Bobby Hull was a team ambassador for the Blackhawks until last year when the team said it was redefining the role after Mikita died in 2018 and another player, Tony Esposito, died in 2021.

Bobby Hull is survived by his wife Deborah and his five children.

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