Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet, Died at the Age of 84.
Bobby Hull, a 12-time All-Star and two-time Hart Trophy winner, died on Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks confirmed. He was 84.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Hull family,” the squad stated in a statement. “During this sad moment, the Hull family has sought privacy. They are grateful for the condolences that have been sent their way.”
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Hull, nicknamed the Golden Jet during his playing career due to his blond hair and speed on the ice, became a fan favourite in Chicago after helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961, breaking a 23-year championship drought.
Following in the footsteps of Mikita, Hull became recognized in the 1960s for curling the blade of his wooden stick and having one of the league’s most feared slap shots. His slap shot was said to have reached 118 mph.
Bobby Hull’s Blackhawks rankings
Bobby Hull played 15 seasons for the Blackhawks and is the franchise’s career leader in goals scored with 604.
He spent 15 seasons in Chicago and is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 604 goals. He played with his brother Dennis, who scored 298 goals with the Blackhawks, for eight of those seasons. Bobby Hull earned the NHL scoring championship for the third time in his career, winning back-to-back Hart Memorial Trophies as the league’s most valuable player in 1964-65 and 1965-66.
Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, issued a statement titled Hull “a great superstar with a bubbly personality.”
“When Bobby Hull coiled up to shoot a slapshot, spectators around the NHL erupted in excitement, and opposition goaltenders prepared themselves,” Bettman said. “There was no more prolific goal-scorer in hockey during his peak. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his son, fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull; the whole Hull family; and the numerous fans across the globe who were lucky enough to witness him play or have subsequently marvelled at his accomplishments.”
Hull received the first $1 million deal in professional hockey history in 1972, leaving the Blackhawks and the NHL to join the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA as a player/coach.
He spent seven seasons in the WHA, helping the Jets win the Avco Cup in 1976 and 1978. He was named the league’s most valuable player twice, in 1972-73 and 1974-75, when he scored a career-high 77 goals.
He declared his retirement after the 1978-79 season, but returned the following season when the WHA amalgamated with the NHL. He played 18 games with the Jets in 1979-80 before being dealt to the Hartford Whalers, where he played nine games before retiring.
In 1983, Hull was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Brett, his son, is also in the Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 following a 19-season career in which he scored 741 goals. Bobby and Brett Hull are the only father-son duo to win the Hart Trophy. They were also the only father and son selected on the list of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Hull finished in the top three in goals scored in 10 NHL seasons. Only Gordie Howe (12) and Alex Ovechkin (11) have had more of these occurrences.
The Blackhawks and Jets have retired Bobby Hull’s No. 9. In 1996, the Winnipeg club moved to Arizona and was renamed the Coyotes, who retired Hull’s No. 9. The number was unretired by the Coyotes in 2005 so that Brett Hull could commemorate his father by wearing it.
Bobby Hull scored 610 goals and assisted 560 times in 1,063 regular-season NHL games. In addition to his two Hart Trophies, he was a three-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy, which is presented to the league’s point leader, and he received the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 1965 for sportsmanship paired with excellent performance.
Despite his success on the ice, Hull suffered legal and familial troubles in his personal life.
He was accused of domestic violence by two of his three wives. Joanne McKay, a figure skater, said that he held her over a balcony in Hawaii in 1966 and struck her with a shoe, and that he threatened her with a loaded shotgun in 1978. Deborah, his third wife, brought accusations following an incident in 1984 but eventually dropped them. Hull, on the other hand, eventually pled guilty to taking a swipe at an officer during his detention and was fined $150 and sentenced to six months in jail.
Hull was chastised in 1998 for telling The Moscow Times that the Black population in the United States was expanding too quickly and that “Hitler had some nice ideas” but “went a little too far.”
Last year, the Blackhawks announced that Hull would no longer serve as a team ambassador. After Mikita died in 2018, and Tony Esposito died in 2021, the club claimed it was rethinking the position of team ambassador.