Blackhawks' all-time leading goal scorer Bobby Hull dies at 84
CHICAGO (CBS/AP) -- Legendary Chicago Blackhawks player Bobby Hull, the team's all-time leading goal scorer, has died age 84.
Though his image has been tarnished by a number of scandals off the ice, he remains one of the team's elite players of all time.
The Blackhawks confirmed Hull's death in a statement.
"The Chicago Blackhawks are saddened by the passing of Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull, a superstar for our franchise between 1957 and 1972. Hull is part of an elite group of players who made a historic impact on our hockey club," the team said in a statement. "We send our deepest sympathies to the Hull family."
Hull, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, played 17 seasons in the NHL, including 15 with the Blackhawks. He also played for seven seasons in the WHA, a professional hockey league that operated in North America from 1972 to 1979.
Nicknamed "The Golden Jet" was the first player to score more than 50 goals in a season in 1966, when he finished with 54 goals. He accomplished the feat three times in the NHL, in 1966, 1967, and 1969. He also scored more than 50 goals four times in the WHA, in four consecutive seasons from 1973 to 1976. He also holds the WHA record for goals in a single season, with 77 in 1975.
"Bobby Hull will always be remembered as one of the greatest Blackhawks players of all time. He was a beloved member of the Blackhawks family. 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. On behalf of the entire Wirtz family, I offer our deepest condolences on the loss of Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet. He will be missed," Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement.
Hull ranks first in career goals for the Blackhawks, with 604, and third in career points with 1,153. He and fellow Hall of Famers Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote, and Glenn Hall led the team to the 1961 Stanley Cup title.
He led the NHL in goals seven times, won three Art Ross Trophies as the NHL's leading point scorer, won two Hart Memorial Trophies as the NHL's most valuable player, and was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship in 1965.
He made 12 All-Star teams in the NHL and five in the WHA.
He was named a Blackhawks ambassador in a ceremony with fellow Hall of Famer Stan Mikita in 2008.
Last February, he retired as a team ambassador. At the time, the team said they were redefining that role after Mikita died in 2018 and Hall of Famer Tony Esposito died in 2021.
Longtime Chicago broadcaster George Ofman recalled how the hockey icon drew him to the sport.
"Bobby Hull was it. He was 'The Golden Jet.' He is still to this day one of the most dynamic athletes I have ever seen, and having grown up with him, that was just remarkable. Obviously, the man had a lot of flaws, but he was the guy when I was a kid," Ofman said.
While Hull was a star player, he has had several troubling episodes off the ice over the years.
Hull was convicted of assaulting a police officer who intervened in a dispute with then-wife Deborah in 1986. He also was accused of battery, but that charge was dropped after Deborah 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 for a 2002 show.
A Russian newspaper reported in 1998 that Hull said Adolf Hitler "had some good ideas." Hull denied making the comment, calling it "false and defamatory."
"I think you have to kind of hold him in two hands," Ofman said. "The hand of the athlete and the hand of the person and the person who wasn't a very good person, but the athlete was a great athlete and so I kind of do it both ways."
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