Bobby Hull was a terrible person. Most athletes can outrun or outskate that with what they accomplish on the field or ice. But even though Hull was one of the best hockey players of all time, the monster he was in his everyday life should shine through his accomplishments. He is no symbol of anything other than being a ghoul, and something that the NHL, and especially the Chicago Blackhawks, should be running away from.
Hull’s alleged history is well-known
Hull was accused by two of his three wives of domestic abuse. In one instance, he allegedly attacked a cop who had responded to a call at his house while one of these domestic abuses was allegedly taking place. His ex-wife Joanne said that Hull beat her with a steel-heeled shoe on a trip to Hawaii. Hull once expressed Nazi-sympathizing views to a newspaper in Moscow. He then denied making those statements, and threatened to sue the Moscow Times and Toronto Sun over printing the remarks. The lawsuits were never adjudicated.
He also scored 610 goals and 1,170 points in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks’ leading goal-scorer to this day. And that’s exactly the order he should be remembered in. Garbage-runoff of a person first, great hockey player second.
All of this puts the Hawks once again under a spotlight they’ve wilted under before. Hull still has a statue outside the United Center. His No. 9 still hangs in the rafters. Only after the Kyle Beach Debacle did the Hawks remove Hull as a team ambassador. They’ve already released the customary, bland statement after the news of his death:
One wonders how many prayers they were sending his family when Hull was allegedly actively attacking them?
The Blackhawks aren’t known for deftly handling this kind of thing
This is still the Hawks, who handled the rape accusations against Patrick Kane in 2015 by immediately announcing his bobblehead night (Kane denied wrongdoing and was never charged). This is the Hawks, who let Brad Aldrich stay on staff through the 2010 Final after they had been told he had sexually assaulted Kyle Beach. They remained mum on Aldrich’s departure after that season, at best, which allowed Aldrich to get future coaching positions in hockey where he allegedly assaulted another player. This is the Hawks, whose owner shouted down two reporters at a town hall last February when they wanted to ask about policies that the team had installed after their failures had come to light earlier that season.
Are they going to celebrate Hull at their next home game next Tuesday? Will they simply let it pass, and perhaps risk an older generation of their fans who have always refused to see what Hull actually was? That’s the easiest option. Will they tell their broadcast to ignore it as well? Or if they can’t do that, will they instruct them to mention everything Hull was, including the massive amounts of ugliness? You probably know the answer to that one.
Hull was an unremorseful puke-stain of a human being. That is hardly up for debate. The Hawks cannot pretend that his hockey accomplishments simply washes that out. Putting hockey first is what got them into the pit they’re in now. This isn’t some guy who had one bad night when he was still a kid. There are reportedly repeated incidents, and the one where he assaulted a cop was when he was 47 in 1987. The incident his ex, Joanne, documented with a shoe was in 1968. This isn’t a man who learned anything.
The Blackhawks would be best advised to let it pass without a mention, because they won’t have the stones to mention everything they have to. Whatever anger comes their way will pass, and is meaningless anyway. But as discussed earlier today, all of hockey is hostage to the worst portions of its fanbase. The kind that would still revere a scumbag like Hull.