Hockey: Bobby Hull, the first player to score more than 50 goals, has died at the age of 84

Legendary hockey player Bobby Hull died at the age of 84.

Hull, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, played consecutively for the Chicago Blackhawks, Hartford Whalers and Winnipeg Jets during his 23-year professional hockey career.

The Blackhawks and NHL Alumni Association confirmed his death Monday morning. Reactions came quickly from around the league, including the Montreal Canadiens.

“Canadians are saddened by the news of the death of the legendary Bobby Hull […]. A fierce competitor, a natural goalscorer and a hockey icon, Hull will be sorely missed. We offer our condolences to his family, friends and former teammates,” the Montreal organization wrote on its official Twitter account.

In 1961, he helped the Hawks win their first Stanley Cup in 23 years. Moreover, it occupies 55e With 610 goals and 560 assists, he entered the NHL scoring history. He also had 303 goals and 335 assists in the World Hockey Association (WHA) for 913 goals in 1,474 career games.

By comparison, Wayne Gretzky scored 940 goals in 1,567 games despite playing only 80 WHA games.

His 604 career goals with the Hawks remain the franchise record to this day.

“Hull is part of an exclusive group of players who have made an indelible impact on our hockey club,” the Blackhawks said. Generations of Chicagoans were impressed by Bobby’s unique shot, excellent skating ability and leadership. »

Hull was also the first player in NHL history to score more than 50 goals in a season. He reached 54 in 1966 and surpassed it with four goals a few seasons later.

Along with Hawks teammate Stan Mikita, he popularized the use of the curved stick blade in the NHL. He would first soak the blade of a wooden stick in water, then slide it under the door and let it harden overnight. At times reaching 200km/h, Hull’s slap shot proved irresistible to opposition goalkeepers.

Big Hawks Family

In 1972, the decision to join the Jets, then in the WHA, was the trigger that allowed the players to change the balance of power with the leaders of the NHL. It was then that player salaries began to rise – even the million dollars demanded by Hull, then an absolute record, would seem laughable today.

At the time, both sides were in dispute, but in 2011, a statue of Hull was erected alongside a statue of Mikita outside the United Center, the current home of the Blackhawks.

He said during the unveiling of the statue: “I never thought in 100 years that I would be here with you tonight.

Hull was hired by the Hawks as an ambassador in 2008, and he participated in their 2010 Stanley Cup win. It was the first since 1961.

The Illinois franchise announced in February 2022 that Hull would retire from all official duties with the team by mutual consent.

“Bobby Hull will always be one of the greatest players in Blackhawks history. He was an integral member of the extended Blackhawks family,” club owner Rocky Wirtz said in a statement.

“When I took over the organization after my father’s death in 2007, one of my priorities was to meet with Bobby and convince him to return to the role of team ambassador. His bond with our supporters was special and unique. »

Hull’s brother, Dennis, spent most of his 14-season NHL career with the Hawks, and Bobby’s son, Brett Bettman, spent 19 campaigns on the Tour. Bobby and Brett each won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, becoming the first father-son duo to accomplish the feat. Bobby got it in 1964-65 and 1965-66 and Brett got it in 1990-91.

With Jay Cohen, Associated Press

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