As someone who is closing-in on the age of 40, I never had the chance to see Bobby Hull play live. There are many “greats” of the NHL that are getting up there in age. It’s human nature, unfortunately. I have seen Bobby’s highlights, just like everyone else has. I’m still mesmerized by his shot.
The Golden Era of Hockey
Bobby Hull is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of hockey. His smoothness and slickness, along with his extremely powerful shot and skating speed, earned him the moniker “The Golden Jet”. His finesse was only matched by his toughness and grit. Players of that era were defined by it.
When you speak of the greats of the NHL, you are mostly transported back to the greats of the 1950’s to the 1970’s. These players are widely considered the best players in the history of the game.
Gordie Howe, Dave Keon, Bobby Orr, Ted Lindsay, Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, Ace Bailey, Milt Schmidt, Emile Francis, Toe Blake, Stan Mikita. Hell, even some guy named Tim Horton (No, youngsters; he was not some donuts guy originally) are some of the first names that come to mind when thinking about the great names from the “Golden Era” of hockey. Bobby Hull is in that group as well.
These men defined the phrase, “hockey player”. Their toughness is what generationally defined hockey players as the standard for “manliness”.
Bobby Hull’s Legacy
Hull began his career with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1956-57 season. The 5’10” left winger from Point Anne, Ontario accomplished some amazing, and never-before-seen feats on the ice.
Hull was one of the first three players to reach 50 goals in a season. He also became the first to surpass that mark with 54 goals in the 1965-66 season. Hull led the NHL in scoring seven times in the 1960’s.
Add to that, his legendary and somewhat questionable records of both shot velocity and skating speed. With 1950’s and 60’s equipment being on the same level of farming tools, Hull reportedly clocked a slapshot capable of 118.3mph. He also hit speeds as fast as 29.7mph skating, both numbers reinforced his “Golden Jet” nickname. While I find those numbers extremely inflated, there is no doubt that his fellow players respected and feared his power.
Bobby Hull is also the father of Brett Hull, another inductee in The Hockey Hall of Fame. Being a HoF player is one thing, but having a son who accomplished the same is another rare feat.
Lets just hope that if Brett has to eulogize his father, it goes better that his Stanley Cup celebration did.