Bobby Hull, the Chicago Blackhawks' legendary 'Golden Jet' and Hall of Famer, dies at 84

Phil Thompson, Steven Goldstein and Chris Kuc, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

Bobby Hull, the electrifying Blackhawks left wing who brought the Stanley Cup to Chicago in 1961 and was a former team ambassador, died, the team announced Monday. He was 84.

Keeping up with Hull will forever be one of the most arduous tasks presented in the NHL. The revered Blackhawks wing, nicknamed “The Golden Jet,” often attracted multiple defenders shadowing his every move to compensate for his blistering shot and open ice speed.

His life off the ice and statements attributed to him after his playing career also cloud his legacy.

In a statement, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said: “Bobby Hull will always be remembered as one of the greatest Blackhawks players of all time. When I assumed leadership of the organization upon my father’s passing in 2007, one of my first priorities was to meet with Bobby to convince him to come back as an ambassador of the team. His connection to our fans was special and irreplaceable.”

Hull became the first NHL player to score more than 50 goals in a season in 1966, and he reached 50 goals four more times.

He was a bellwether at Chicago Stadium for 15 years — leading the league in scoring for seven of them — along with “Million Dollar Line” members Murray Balfour and Bill Hay.


“Some people say they don’t hear the fans when they play. But they’re full of crap,” Hull told The Tribune in 1988. “Every time I picked up that puck behind the net I could hear them and feel the electricity. The faster I went, the further up ice I skated, the louder it got and the more exciting it was.”

Hull left the Blackhawks in 1972 to join the World Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Jets as a player/coach. He attempted two short-lived NHL comebacks before retiring from hockey and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1983. Hull denounced former Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz for decades after his Hawks career, but reconciled with his son and current owner Rocky Wirtz in 2008.

“I couldn’t be any happier. I can live the rest of my life knowing the Blackhawks wanted me back and I wanted to be back,” Hull said after becoming a team ambassador. “I never thought I would wear any jersey but crimson. I thought I’d live and I’d die as a Chicago Blackhawk and that’s what I wanted to do.”

Hull made his NHL debut with the Hawks on Oct. 8, 1957, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a 1-0 win at Chicago Stadium.


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