“I’m in net and he’s coming down the ice in Chicago,” the 79-year-old Daley began. “And he’ll flick one at your head, because I had no mask on, and give you a wink. And then the next time he’s coming down the ice, he’d drive one about two inches off the ice and you’re already stretching for the heavens, and he gives you the smile.”
-Joe Daley, former WHA and NHL goaltender on Bobby Hull. Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun has more, like this..
The stories of domestic violence would come later. As would an interview in which he was quoted as making pro-Nazi and racist comments, views he quickly denounced, saying the quotes were inaccurate.
Daley understood why those questions were coming, too.
But on this day, he wanted no part of them.
“I’m not going to talk about something that I’ve heard,” Daley said. “And the man is dead now. I’d rather talk about what he meant to me and hockey in general. I think that’s the proper thing.”
More from the above article,
Our chat was his fourth interview of the day, and by the end of it Daley was getting emotional. The news of losing his friend was starting to sink in.
Daley knew his son and business partner, Travis, out of town on business, would be taking the news hard, too. Hull had always been so good to him.
On the other side of the pond, Ulf Nilsson was experiencing similar feelings.
“It’s not the best day,” Hull’s teammate on the Hot Line said from his home in Sweden. “We had a lot of fun together.”
Nilsson says Hull taught him and fellow Swede Anders Hedberg how to work like pros, and that hockey wasn’t everything. Instead of going for beers after practice like most players did, Hull went to work on his cattle farm outside Winnipeg, sometimes taking Nilsson along.
Rest in Peace Mr. Hull!
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Can you watch Woody Allen play Fielding Mellish in that uproarious courtroom scene in the movie, “Bananas,” and laugh the same way you did before? Can you stomach watching a rerun of an episode of the television show, “Cosby?”
Bobby Hull, one of the most legendary, charismatic and historically significant players in NHL history, passed on Monday at age 84 and it is entirely up to you whether to celebrate his hockey career even as it is impossible to honor his life.
There is a preponderance of evidence that this was not an individual worthy of hagiography. He appears to have been a serial domestic abuser as alleged by two of his three former wives, the first of whom, Joanne, described an attack in harrowing detail in a 2002 ESPN documentary. That was 16 years after Hull pled guilty to assaulting a police officer who intervened in a dispute with his second wife, Deborah.
from Gare Joyce,
The rewards for that credo, though, might be like that replica ring: less than fulfilling. Life sometimes calls for mod- eration. Could he have worked less hard on the farm and spent more time with his wife and kids? Could he have lived not as fast? Could he have protected his marriage and his financial interests so that he might be holding up his real Stanley Cup ring, which is probably on display in a collector’s home? He went about his life as if greatness in the game guaranteed good fortune. Sitting here in Wayne Gretzky’s doesn’t look like good fortune. As Oscar Wilde said, we are each our own Devil and we make this world our Hell.
Bobby Hull is at a stage of life when there’s more call for retrospection than looking ahead. Hull says that he looks back and likes what he sees. He says that he has lived a great life, that he has lived it to the fullest. “I’d do it all again,” he says.
The divorce. The scandal it brought on him. The distance from his children for years. The estrangement from his daughter. No regrets.
Leaving Chicago for Winnipeg. Losing a chance to play in the Summit Series and to win another Stanley Cup. Playing great hockey that went mostly unseen. Waiting in vain for the phone to ring with an offer for a job in the game. No regrets.
Regrets are an admission of doubts and weakness and Hull learned all about confidence and strength at the rink. Bad memories are like shots wide and shots saved. He has laid them to rest, can’t remember or has successfully forgotten them. No regrets.
David Shoalts at the New York Times,
If ever there was an N.H.L. star whose spectacular feats on the ice were diminished by his misdeeds away from it, it was Bobby Hull.
His blond hair and matinee-idol looks combined with the stirring solo rushes up the ice that usually ended in his fearsome slapshot hitting the back of the net brought him the nickname The Golden Jet. But all that hockey gold was tarnished by the darker side of Hull, who died on Monday at the age of 84.
For every accomplishment, like his five 50-goal seasons in 15 years for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1957 to 1972, and all the pioneering steps, like his use of a curved stick or his jump to the upstart World Hockey Association in 1972 that eventually enriched his peers, there were blemishes: credible accusations from two wives of domestic assault; an arrest for assaulting a police officer; and the airing of repugnant views on race, genetics and Hitler.
It will be interesting to see how the N.H.L. and the Blackhawks, the team most associated with Hull, handle memorials for him. The N.H.L. All-Star Game will be played on Saturday in South Florida. The next Chicago home game is Feb. 7. Usually the death of a Hall of Fame star like Hull would merit an emotional tribute at both events, but his conflicting legacy leaves that in doubt.
The N.H.L. has long been criticized for its handling of issues involving sexual assault and racism but has tried to improve its image in recent years. The Blackhawks in particular have earned enormous criticism, especially for the team’s mishandling of a sexual assault accusation in 2010 involving a video coach that resulted in a lawsuit by a former player last year and the departures of several team executives.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
There was a certain magic to Bobby Hull. How he skated. How he smiled. How he wound up with that giant unmatched slapshot and wowed the crowd.
How he made you take notice of him in almost every game he played and on every shift he took for the Chicago Blackhawks. You couldn’t take your eyes off him no matter what team you cheered for.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune,
Few things in sports were as memorable as a rush up the ice by the Chicago Blackhawks with Bobby Hull handling the puck at Chicago Stadium.
A goal by the man with the hardest shot anyone had seen, combined with the acoustics of the original Madhouse on Madison, led to a sonic explosion that may never be replicated.
Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star,
Before Bobby Hull showed up, the NHL was long on workmanlike effort and short on rock ’n’ roll erraticism. Now that he’s gone, it’s returned to its former state.
But for a while there, Hull played hockey the way Led Zeppelin played arenas – the most interesting stories didn’t happen in public view, and few of them were the sort you’d want to hear in decent company.
One of the great pure goal scorers in the game’s history and its most notable off-season farmer, Hull bridged the gap between the NHL’s working-class roots and its jet-set aspirations. His career was full of ‘what ifs’ – what if he’d stayed in the NHL past his early 30s?; what if he’d been allowed to play in the Summit Series? The best testament to Hull’s athletic greatness was that despite often working against his own best interests, he still managed to be remembered as great.
Like many of his contemporaries, Hull was the sort they grew big on the farm. Born in rural Ontario, he came up through the provincial ranks and joined the Chicago Black Hawks in 1957. He was only 18, but already fully formed as a player.
In a league full of big, tough men, Hull was bigger and tougher, but also remarkably skilled. His slap shot is still remembered as a weapon of NHL mass destruction.
Teammate Glenn Hall once said of it: “The idea was not to stop that thing, but to avoid getting killed.”
Defending Hull was a special challenge because he didn’t have to find a way around you. He could just go through you.
"Bryan did a hell of a job on Hull every game we played, but he paid the price," Gadsby said in 2002. "I remember Bugsy's belly was all marked up with spear jobs, and his chest and ribs had welts all over because Bobby didn't like what he was doing."
Bobby Hull never forgave Watson for shutting him down. At an old-timers hockey game years later, Watson, at the behest of Ted Lindsay, skated over to Hull. "When Bobby saw me coming over, his big smile went to gloom and doom," Watson said. "I grabbed his stick so he couldn't skate, and with that, he ripped it out of my hand and jumped over the boards, taking off his skates. I said to Teddy, 'holy Jesus, you see what I mean?'"
It was a fitting epitaph to Watson's remembrance of going up against the Golden Jet in the 1966 playoffs: "I know I had a lot more fun that Bobby did."
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press has more.
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