Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull dies at 84

ByDiane Pathieu, Ryan Chiaverini, John Garcia, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on death of legendary player Bobby Hull
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Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull, the team's all-time leading goal scorer known as "The Golden Jet," died Monday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull, known as "The Golden Jet," died at age 84, the team announced Monday.

Hull played with the Blackhawks from 1957 until 1972 when he signed with the Winnipeg Jets, then of the World Hockey Association for a $1 million signing bonus.

Many would say Hull is the greatest Blackhawk of all-time and his 604 goals are the most in team history. To this day, only 20 NHL players have ever reached 600.

Hull was known for that flowing blonde hair and unmatched speed and some would say he had the hardest shot ever in the NHL. It earned him the nickname, "The Golden Jet."

The Blackhawks said in a statement Monday, "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 Golden Jet helped the Blackhawks win the 1961 Stanley Cup and delivered countless memories to our fans, whom he adored. Generations of Chicagoans were dazzled by Bobby's shooting prowess, skating skill and overall team leadership that led to 604 career goals, a franchise record that remains to this day. We send our deepest sympathies to the Hull family."

Fans react to death of Bobby Hull

Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement, "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."

Hull won the NHL's Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player, in 1965 and 1966 and the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer three times in 1960, 1962 and 1966.

In 1961, Hull lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup championship, which was the team's last until 2010.

Hull was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983 and his number 9 is retired by the Blackhawks.

Hull's life off the ice is the subject of controversy, with ESPN reporting he faced domestic abuse allegations from two of his three wives.

He also faced criticism for his comments to The Moscow Times in 1998 that the Black population in the United States was growing too fast and that "Hitler had some good ideas" but "just went a bit too far," ESPN reports.

Bobby Hull reacts to Blackhawks winning Stanley Cup in 2010

Hull's younger brother, Dennis, played alongside him on the Blackhawks for eight seasons and his son Brett scored 741 goals in the NHL and also won a Hart Trophy.

Hull was a favorite at Palace Grill and his signed jersey even hangs inside.

Word spread quickly about the death of the Blackhawks great. Hull frequented the Palace Grill, the beloved Chicago diner close to the United Center, where his statute greets fans and tourists alike.

Palace Grill owner George Lemperis considers Hull a great friend, he heard about Hull's passing Monday.

"He was just a wonderful man, a friend, and it's a sad loss for the city of Chicago and the game of hockey," Lemperis said.

Lemperis said Hull was last there in October, and always stopped to greet fans and sign autographs.

Hull just celebrated his 84th birthday and while he lived in Florida, he often stopped by the Palace Grill when he was in town.