Bobby Hull, a Hall of Fame winger and two-time NHL MVP who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961, has died. He was 84. The Blackhawks and the NHL Alumni Association announced Hull's death on Monday, the AP reports. There were no further details provided by either organization. When Bobby Hull got the puck, he was tough to stop. He had blazing speed, a frighteningly hard slap shot and tons of confidence. The Blackhawks said Hull "delivered countless memories to our fans, whom he adored. Generations of Chicagoans were dazzled by Bobby's shooting prowess, skating skill and overall team leadership that led to 604 career goals, a franchise record that remains to this day." His son Brett also became an NHL Hall of Famer.
Hull was one of the most prolific forwards in NHL history, scoring 610 times during his 16-year career with Chicago, Hartford, and Winnipeg. He also had 303 goals in the WHA. While Hull starred on the ice, he faced legal and family issues in his personal life. He was convicted of assaulting a police officer who intervened in a dispute with his then-wife, Deborah, in 1986. He also was accused of battery, but that charge was dropped after his wife told authorities she didn’t want to testify against her husband, a state attorney told the Chicago Tribune. Hull's second wife, Joanne, accused him of abuse during an interview with ESPN in 2002. A Russian newspaper reported in 1998 that Hull said Adolf Hitler "had some good ideas." Hull denied making the comment.
Hull, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, was estranged from the Blackhawks for a while before he was named a Blackhawks ambassador in a ceremony with former teammate Stan Mikita in 2008. Hull and Mikita have adjacent statues outside the United Center. The franchise announced in February 2022 that Hull had retired from any official team role, calling it a joint decision. His brother, Dennis, played for Chicago for most of his 14 years in the league. Bobby and Brett each won the Hart Trophy as league MVP, becoming the first father-son duo to accomplish the feat. Bobby Hull posted 13 consecutive seasons with 30 goals or more from 1959-72, becoming a fixture at the All-Star Game and a regular candidate for the league's top awards.
The Pointe Anne, Ontario, native remains Chicago's career leader for regular season and playoff goals. He is second to Mikita on the franchise points list with 1,153. Hull had 560 assists 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 awarded to the league leader in points and took home the 1965 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship combined with stellar play. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called Hull "a true superstar" in a statement. "When Bobby Hull wound up to take a slapshot, fans throughout the NHL rose to their feet in anticipation and opposing goaltenders braced themselves," Bettman said.
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