There has never been a better pro football coach than Bill Parcells! No more about that for now; he will be the subject of a feature article down the road, more than likely in January. His accomplishments are nothing short of incredible.
Story of the Week
Bobby Hull played pro hockey for 23 years, from 1957-1980. He was appropriately named the Golden Jet for his great skating speed. He had a powerful body that permitted him to play rough-and-tumble hockey when it called for it. And his shot was timed at 120 miles per hour.
Few of the game’s superstars could match Hull’s physical talents. Hull was a legend with the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL for years, and later enjoyed success in the WHA before retirement from the sport.
Hull’s highly anticipated NHL regular-season debut came in 1957. He didn’t disappoint Chicago’s fans and management. His break-out year came in 1959-60 with a league-high 39 goals and 81 points. He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team when he was 21.
More important, the young star helped resurrect the fortunes of a struggling team. Prior to his arrival, Chicago had missed the playoffs 11 out of the previous 12 seasons. Hull’s arrival along with Stan Mikita helped rekindle the spark within the Blackhawks’ franchise.
Together with Mikita, Hull developed the curved hockey stick, which gave the shooter more velocity, and caused the puck to move differently at times. The last thing opposition goalies needed was Bobby Hull’s feared shot behaving like a curve ball.
Bobby Hull and the Blackhawks continued to improve. Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 1960-61 for the first time in 23 years. Hull’s goals continued to come. In 1968-69, he set an NHL record 58 goals for a single season that fans thought would last many years. (As it turned out, Boston’s Phil Esposito hit the back of the net 76 times two years later.) The Associated Press named Bobby Hull the NHL Player of the 1960s.
In 1972, an ominous event took place in the form of the World Hockey Association. The Winnipeg Jets shocked the hockey world by signing the Golden Jet to the first $1 million contract in hockey history. It was the major coup needed by the WHA to legitimize itself. When Hull left the NHL, his 604 goals ranked him second in league history to Gordie Howe.
In 1974-75, Hull scored 77 goals for Winnipeg in the regular season to establish a new record for a pro league. His play was an integral part of the Jets’ Avco Cup wins in three of the next four seasons.
Following the merger of the NHL and WHA in 1979, Hull remained with the Jets for 18 games that season, and was then traded to the Hartford Whalers to play alongside the great Gordie Howe. He retired after that 1979-80 season; the hardest slap-shot in hockey retired with him. Hull took his rightful place in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
Last Week’s Trivia
What former major leaguer was nicknamed "Kid" for his youthful enthusiasm in his style of play? Gary Carter, a 2003 Hall-of-Fame inductee.
Trivia Question of the Week
Who is the only major league baseball MVP to never appear in an All-Star game? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.