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Bobby Hull thrilled by Brett Hull's induction

Saturday, 11.07.2009 / 3:19 PM / Hall of Fame

By John McGourty - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Imagine the thrill of being able to take your 7-year-old, hockey-playing son or daughter to the Hockey Hall of Fame here and having them sit less than 10 feet from one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Bobby Hull, and have him share with them recollections of his career and his advice and opinions on how to play the game.

Hull is in Toronto to share the Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend with his son Brett, who will be inducted Monday along with Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch and Lou Lamoriello.

Brett and Bobby Hull are the only father-and-son combination to play in the NHL and be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bobby Hull said he is enormously proud of his son and proud for his family.

"It was one thing to have a career that spanned 23 years professionally, as I did," Bobby Hull said. "But to have your kid come along and play the game the way Brett Hull played it and accomplish what he accomplished, playing the game the proper way and becoming the third-highest scorer in the history of the game, it is elating to me to be able to join him this weekend to go in the Hall of Fame, to be the only father and son, of any sport I think, in the Hall of Fame."

Hull was asked how he felt about his family joining the Patricks as the only multi-generational family members in the Hockey Hall of Fame and he beamed.

"That's OK, I don't mind being second-ranked to Lester Patrick," Hull said, laughing broadly and thoroughly enjoying the association. "Gordon Howe always called himself 'Mr. Hockey' and rightfully so. The group in New York (the Patricks) did so much for the game of hockey. As a matter of fact, I was very
fortunate to win the (1969) Lester Patrick Award. Now, with Brett and I going into the Hockey Hall of Fame, this is second-to-none for me and my family."

Sixteen players from the Immaculate Conception (IC) Canadiens of the Alliance Hockey Association of St. Catherines, Ontario, hopped on a bus early Saturday morning to be able to grab front-row seats for the always popular "Tales of the Cup" feature presentation, hosted by Hockey Hall of Fame Vice President and
Curator Phil Pritchard, with the Bobby Hull, "the Golden Jet," as the featured speaker.

It's been nearly 30 years since Bobby Hull retired from the NHL as the all-time second-leading goal scorer behind Howe, but the kids and their families relished the chance to meet the man whose powerful skating and slap shot led to 610 NHL goals with the Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers. Hull added 303 goals in seven seasons in the World Hockey Association, for an astounding 913 goals in North American professional Hockey.

Hull won the 1961 Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks and while he was talking, pointed to Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Bill Hay and said, "That was my centerman right there."

Hull said that team was typical of championship hockey teams, "strong up the middle. We had perhaps the greatest goalie in the history of the game, Glenn Hall. We had Stan Mikita and Bill Hay at center and we had great defense with Al Arbour, who came over from Detroit, Jack Evans, who came to us from the Rangers, Dollard St. Laurent, who had done yeoman duty in Montreal, and homegrown defensemen Elmer Vasko and Pierre Pilote."

The St. Catherines' fans had to love the inclusion of Pilote, a St. Catherines' native who made the give-and-go with Hull a thing of beauty and a key to their championship.

IC Canadiens coach Berny Portolesi said they brought the children to "inspire them. My responsibility as coach is not only to teach, but to find methods of motivating them and helping them to build their character to assist them in developing goals, not only in hockey but in life. The winning in here in the rink
begins with winning outside the rink, in life."

"To have your kid come along and play the game the way Brett Hull played it and accomplish what he accomplished, playing the game the proper way and becoming the third-highest scorer in the history of the game, it is elating to me to be able to join him this weekend to go in the Hall of Fame, to be the only father and son, of any sport I think, in the Hall of Fame."
-- Bobby Hull

The kids are in good hands with coaches who think like that and Portolesi had the chance to see the results of his efforts.

After the "Tales of the Cup" presentation and a discussion between Pritchard and Hull, those attending were invited up to the stage to talk individually with Bobby Hull and get items autographed. They brought old hockey cards from Hull's career, photos, Blackhawks sweaters, etc.

Portolesi heard Hull tell one of his players, "Shoot high, shoot hard and shoot often," rolled his eyes, laughed and said, "Well, there's two years of coaching down the drain. I'm trying to teach that boy to shoot low." He had to be pleased at what he heard next.

"My coach says I should shoot low," the boy told Hull

"Then, do what you coach tells you to do, always," Hull said, roaring with laughter.

Bobby Hull has five children, Brett, Blake, Bobby Jr., Michelle and his youngest, Bart, who accompanied him Saturday. Bart played football at Boise State and stayed in town after graduating. He became an account executive with the Boise Steelheads and later color commentator with Rob Simpson, now with the NHL Network and NHL.com.

Bart said he had a bit of a professional hockey career while in Boise. The team had a player shortage after a couple of callups and some injuries and Bart was asked if he could fill in. He said you can't find his record on hockeydb.com but part of it shows up in league records ... and part of it doesn't.

"It got so I'd just throw my equipment bag on the bus and if they needed me I'd play," Bart Hull said. "Sometimes, though, I didn't have my stuff and they needed me, so I'd wear someone else's equipment. I think I'm credited with 2 or 3 goals but, unofficially, I had somewhere between 30 and 40."

After their parents divorced, the kids moved to Vancouver with their mother, Joanne, and played youth hockey there, Bart with Joe Sakic, and Brett against Cliff Ronning. Bart gave great insight into Brett Hull's makeup when he was asked if Hull looked up to or was impressed with Ronning, a dominating youth-hockey player in the Vancouver area.

"Brett Hull never looked up to anybody," Bart said. "He marched to his own drummer."


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