If there was ever an NHL star whose great on-ice feats were marred by bad deeds on the ice, it was Bobby Hull.
His blonde hair and matinee idol looks, combined with an ice-stirring solo that usually ends in a horrific slapshot that hits the back of the net, earned him the nickname Golden Jet. But all that hockey gold was tainted by the dark side of Hal, who died Monday at the age of 84.
All his accomplishments, including five seasons in which he scored 50 goals in 15 years with the Chicago Blackhawks from 1957 to 1972, as well as his use of curved sticks and his jumping into the fledgling World Hockey Association in 1972, and his eventual wealth. For all the pioneering steps that brought His colleague had a scar. A credible accusation from two wives of domestic violence. Arrested for assaulting a police officer. And airing hateful views on race, genetics, and Hitler.
It will be interesting to see how the NHL and Blackhawks, the teams Hull is most associated with, handle his tribute.The NHL All-Star Game is in South Florida on Saturday. The next Chicago home game is his February 7th. Normally the death of a Hall of Fame star like Hal deserves an emotional mourning at both events, but his ambivalent legacy calls it into question.
The NHL has long been criticized for its handling of issues including sexual assault and racism, but in recent years it has sought to improve its image. The Blackhawks, in particular, have been criticized for the team’s mishandling of sexual assault accusations involving a video coach in 2010, especially after last year’s lawsuit by a former player and the resignation of several team executives. It’s been heavily criticized.
So far, neither the league nor the Blackhawks have addressed reputational issues in admitting Hull’s death. Blackhawks president Rocky Werts called Hull “a beloved member of the Blackhawks family”.
A few years after his NHL career began in Chicago in 1957, Hull established himself as hockey’s first mainstream superstar. Point, Ontario, a small cement-manufacturing town 120 miles northeast of Toronto. A muscular farm boy in his Anne, he can get fans to his feet in a locomotive-like sortie, and six he It was the closest thing to a common name as a team of. The NHL had when the television era took hold in his 1960s.
Both the league and the Blackhawks quickly recognized Hull’s publicity value. He was the subject of numerous promotions aimed at increasing interest in hockey.Especially among women at a time when the sport had a mostly male audience. The most famous hockey pictures One in the 1960s was one of Hal, stripped down to his waist, with flaxen hair and muscles glistening in the summer sun, throwing hay with a pitchfork on the family farm.
At 5 feet 10 inches and 195 pounds, Hull was no bigger than most of his fellow players, but possessed great strength and speed. His slap shot was estimated to reach as high as 119 miles per hour (119 miles per hour) and regularly terrorized the goalkeepers of the day as most goalkeepers played without mask protection.
In the mid-1960s, when Hull and his Chicago teammate Stan Mikita began using sticks with curved blades, many goalkeepers turned to masks. Dubbed banana blades for their fierce curls, sticks can lift pucks or dive unexpectedly. In 1967, the NHL introduced restrictions to limit the severity of his curve on the stick.
Hull was also an inspiration to his peers as he always had strong opinions about what his services were worth to the league. I was shocked when I bolted the NHL with a deal worth $2.75 million to play for the new WHA. The move finally broke his NHL owner’s firm hold, giving players more money for their skills and giving them more control over where they played.
When both the NHL and WHA began brawling on the ice in the 1970s, Hull took a lone stand, even going so far as to strike one game while the Jets protested fighting in the game. Did.
Hull may have blamed the violence that ruined the hockey game, but his second wife, Joan McKay, told a 2002 ESPN documentary that the two decades of marriage that led to their divorce in 1980. She said that Hal beat her.During a trip to Hawaii, she got bloody on her shoes and hugged her on a hotel balcony. “I thought this was the end. Let’s go,” she said.
More stories detailing Hal’s dark side From domestic violence to trouble with alcohol, it has emerged over the years. In 1986, Hal’s third wife, Deborah, accused Hal of assault. When police intervened in the case, Hal was charged with assaulting him and eventually pleaded guilty.He was also charged with his wife’s battery, but after Deborah refused to testify. , the issue was dropped.
Another controversy erupted in 1998, when the English-language Moscow Times attributed disturbing views on race to Hal. He was quoted as saying: He’s gone a little too far. “
Hal denied comment and said he would sue both the Moscow Times and the Toronto Sun, which reprinted parts of the Times article, but nothing came of the threatened legal action.
However, Hal’s daughter Michelle countered him in a newspaper article. That was it,” he said.
Despite a list of ugly incidents, the Blackhawks appointed Hull as team ambassador in 2008. He was removed from the role last year. Hull and the organization “jointly agreed” that he would retire.
However, a statue of Hull erected outside Chicago’s United Center in 2011 remains.