Bobby Hull, whose spectacular on-ice legacy was tarnished by a protracted historical past of off-ice transgressions, died at age 84, the Blackhawks confirmed Monday.

Hull was one of the prolific purpose scorers within the historical past of the sport, tallying 610 targets in 1,063 NHL video games, and 303 extra within the WHA. His stunning resolution to leap to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets after 15 years with the Blackhawks lent the upstart league legitimacy, serving to to expedite its eventual merger with the NHL and pave the way in which for extra profitable contracts for different gamers.

A two-time Hart Trophy winner and three-time scoring champion, Hull gained the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 1961, his fourth 12 months within the league. He’s indisputably one of many best gamers in hockey historical past and is immortalized exterior of the United Center in Chicago with a statue, alongside considered one of longtime teammate Stan Mikita. Hull and Mikita popularized the curved stick blade and had been one of many league’s all-time nice duos.

But Hull’s historical past of alleged home abuse, racism and antisemitism eventually prompted the Blackhawks to cut ties with him in 2021. Hull had been within the position of staff “ambassador” since 2008, often attending video games, doing voice-overs for video montages and schmoozing sponsors. But the social reckoning that swept the nation lately got here for Hull, too.

Two of Hull’s former wives accused him of home abuse. In 1987, Hull pleaded responsible to assaulting a police officer who tried to interrupt up an argument between Hull and his then-wife, Deborah. Reports from the incident say Hull had a bruise on her head however refused therapy. In a 2002 ESPN “SportsCentury” documentary, his former spouse Joanne stated that Hull had overwhelmed her throughout a visit to Hawaii.

“I took a real beating there,” she stated. “(Bobby) just picked me up, threw me over his shoulder, threw me in the room, and just proceeded to knock the heck out of me. He took my shoe — with a steel heel — and proceeded to hit me in the head. I was covered with blood. And I can remember him holding me over the balcony and I thought this is the end, I’m going.”

In 1997, Hull was quoted by the Russian newspaper The Moscow Times as saying Adolf Hitler “had some good ideas” and that he “just went a little bit too far.” The newspaper additionally quoted Hull as saying the Black inhabitants within the United States was rising too rapidly. Hull refuted the quotes in a press release as “false and defamatory.”

The Blackhawks launched a press release saying his loss of life:

“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.”

“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,” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz in a press release. “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.”

(Photo: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

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