Tuesday, October 22, 2013
One of the most dynamic and prolific scorers in NHL history, Bobby Hull scored his first NHL goal on this date in 1957 in a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins.
Hull played his junior hockey for the St. Catharines Teepees in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1954-55 to 1956-57, a season in which he scored 33 goals in 52 games, giving a glimpse into the future as to what was to follow.
He made his NHL debut with Chicago at the age of 18 and finished second in the rookie of the year voting following his 13 goal, 47 point season, which included the first of over 600 NHL goals (and over 900 professional when his days in the WHA are taken into account) scored on this date.
His second season was a repeat of the first, with his goals and points edging upwards to 18 and 50. His game really took flight in 1959-60 when he more than doubled his previous goal total to 39 along with 42 assists to lead the league in both categories and capture the first Art Ross Trophy of his career with 81 points.
Hull and the Black Hawks would achieve even greater heights in 1960-61. Although Hull would relinquish the scoring title, he would still top 30 goals with 31, but his 14 points in 12 playoff games would help the Black Hawks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 23 years.
Hull with the 1961 Stanley Cup
Individual honors would return to Hull's trophy case in 1961-62 when he again led the NHL in both goals and points when he became just the third player in NHL history to reach 50 goals in a single season on his way to 84 points. Hull again added 14 points in the playoffs as Chicago again reached the finals, but fell short in six games.
Hull celebrates goal #50 (wearing #7)
After a 31 goal season in 1962-63, Hull once more led the league in goals in 1963-64 with 43 and came in second to teammate Stan Mikita in the points chase 89-87.
The 1964-65 awards ceremony had more in store for Hull, as he took home the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player as well as the only Lady Byng Trophy of his career. In the postseason, Hull led Chicago in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 17 points in 14 games as the Black Hawks took the Montreal Canadiens to the full seven games before succumbing.
He really turned on the jets beginning in 1965-66 when he led the league in goal scoring for the first of four consecutive seasons with his second 50 goal season when he netted an NHL record 54 goals as part of his league leading 97 points, which garnered Hull his third Art Ross Trophy and second Hart Trophy.
The next two seasons he again led the league in goals with 52 and then 44 before breaking his own NHL single season record with a career high 58 goals and his first 100 point season when he amassed 107 in 1968-69 as the NHL entered a new era in scoring, at which Hull was at the forefront. At the time, Hull owned four of the six 50 goal seasons in NHL history.
Limited to 61 games the following season, Hull still scored 38 goals and passed the 500 career goals mark, on the third player after Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe to reach that milestone. His final season with the Black Hawks in 1971-72 saw him surpass the 600 goal mark during yet another 50 goal season, his fifth, while only Phil Esposito had more than one to his credit with two.
It was then that the upstart World Hockey Association came calling with an offer too good to refuse, and Hull joined the Winnipeg Jets, becoming the centerpiece of the WHA and giving the league an instant shot of credibility.
Today's featured jersey is a 1961-62 Chicago Black Hawks Bobby Hull jersey. During Hull's first two seasons, the Black Hawks white jerseys had the crossed tomahawks secondary logo located over the sleeve stripes. In 1959 the logo was moved to the now customary position on the shoulders above the sleeve numbers.
This jersey would remain unchanged until 1963 when a third sleeve stripe was added to match the waist striping.
Hull originally broke into the NHL wearing the #16. He would later change to #7 before adopting his more familiar #9. Eventually, back in the NHL following the WHA's merger with the NHL, during the final season of his career he would join Gordie Howe on the roster of the Hartford Whalers and once more wear the #16 in deference to Howe.
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
Today's first video is a trip down memory lane, with a look at Munro's Bobby Hull table hockey game from the early days of "sports marketing". Love the automatic puck dropping scoreboard with the flags. Rod hockey at it's finest. Check out the teams too, Chicago vs. Minnesota. Perfect, and a nice break from Montreal vs. Toronto.
Forgive the quality of the video taping of the TV screen on this video, but the historical nature of Hull scoring goal #600 makes it worth it.
In this next video, Hull wins the only Stanley Cup of his career in 1961.
Finally, a recent interview with Hull on the occasion of becoming a part of the Blackhawks organization once more after far too long of an absence.