Happy Birthday, Bobby Hull
He was born Robert Marvin Hull, Jr. in Point Anne,
Ontario Canada on January 3, 1939 -- 61 years ago today -- and has gone
down in history as one of the greatest hockey players ever. By the age of
three Hull was skating; as early as age 10 he was being tagged as a
sure-fire NHL star.
In 1957, Hull became a member of the Chicago Black
Hawks where he remained for sixteen seasons. In 1960-1961, he led the team
to the Stanley cup championship - Chicago's first title since 1938.
Possessor of probably the hardest shot in ice hockey
- one of his shots was timed at 116.3 mph - Hull was also one of the
fastest skaters in NHL history, timed at just below 30 mph.
Dubbed "the Golden Hawk" because of his
blonde hair and the fact that he starred for the Chicago Black Hawks, Hull
was a ten-time National Hockey League All-Star, a seven-time goal-scoring
leader, and a three-time winner of the scoring championship. He was the
first player in the NHL to score fifty goals in a season more than once
(he had fifty in 1961-62, fifty four in 1955-56, and fifty two in
1956-57). It is an under-statement to call Hull a scoring machine.
Along with Boom Boom Geoffrion, Hull helped to
popularize the slapshot. With his Chicago teammate and good friend Stan
Mikita, Hull first began to use the curved blade which made his own
slapshot - not to mention those of future NHL stars - that much more
deadly and elusive.
Hull was a fiery, no-holds barred competitor who
would not back away from a fight. His dental bills were a testimony to
that part of his game. Most of his teeth were lost during his time in the
NHL, and he played part of the 1968-69 season with his mouth wired shut
after having his jaw broken. At times Hull's nose was so shattered and
battered that he could barely breathe through it.
The world of hockey was shocked on June 27, 1972 when
Hull jumped to the new World Hockey Association in a ten-year deal
reportedly worth $2.75 million. A contract dispute with Hawks' management
caused Hull to jump to the upstart league. He became hockey's first
millionaire, and the WHA gained instant credibility. It was the greatest
loss in Blackhawks history – his departure allegedly cost the franchise
close to 1 billion dollars over the next ten years due to declines in
In the WHA Hull picked up a new nickname - "the
Golden Jet." This time the "golden" referred to the money
he was making, and the "jet" to the Winnipeg Jets where he
performed. The talented hockey superstar had won two Most Valuable Player
awards in the National Hockey League. In 1972-73, he added a third playing
for the Jets.
The man most regard as the best left wing in ice
hockey history returned in 1979-1980 to the NHL as a member of the
Hartford Whalers. In 1983, Bobby Hull was deservedly enshrined elected
into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He was a blend the talents of his most famed predecessors - the speed of
Howie Morenz, the goal scoring prowess of Maurice Richard. To these he
added the strength and control of Gordie Howe.
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About the Authors: Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband
team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional
scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories
It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in
America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in
Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.
They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining
as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United
States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
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This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer. All rights