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|Brett Hull prepares to give a speech prior to Tuesday's game vs. Calgary. The Blues honored Hull's Hall of Fame induction at Scottrade Center. (Getty Images). |
Ask Brett Hull about St. Louis and he’ll have plenty of stories to share.
Stories of triumph (like the time he scored a league-leading 86 goals during the 1990-91 season), stories of individual success (like scoring 527 goals in 744 games with St. Louis, good for the all-time goals scored record among Blues players), or stories of creating lifelong friendships (like when he shared the ice and bonded with guys like Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, Curtis Joseph and Kelly Chase, just to name a few).
If there’s a common theme in all of this, it’s that when Hull reflects on his days in St. Louis, he only has fond memories.
"We talk about it all the time, but think about the players that came through here," Hull said about his time in St. Louis, where he played from 1988-1998. "From the greatest player that ever walked the face of the earth in Wayne Gretzky, to Brendan Shanahan, to Scott Stevens, to Adam Oates...to Chase and Twist...good luck. You couldn't beat us.
“I can't even put into words how great a feeling it is,” Hull added about returning to St. Louis. "Even though it's not the old Arena, it's home for me and it will always be part of my life."
Over the course of a career that spanned 1,269 games, the “Golden Brett” scored 741 goals and 650 assists (1,391 points). He won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship in 1990, the Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP in 1991 and a silver medal with Team USA.
He holds the Blues’ franchise records in goals (527), hat tricks (27), game-winning goals (70), power play goals (195) and shots on goal (3,367). He won two Stanley Cups (Dallas in 1999 and Detroit in 2002) and his No. 16 jersey was retired to the Scottrade Center rafters in 2006.
But of all his milestones, he might cherish last month’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame more than any others. He entered the Hall with Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman, and to celebrate his induction with such a prestigous class, the Blues invited Hull and some of his former teammates to Tuesday’s game.
Among those that showed: Gretzky, Shanahan, Joseph, Chase, Geoff Courtnall, Grant Fuhr, Phil Housley and many more.
If that doesn't speak volumes about Hull's contributions to St. Louis and the game in general, nothing will.
“Brett had it all,” said Joseph. “He was always smiling and scoring and had a great personality and was a smart guy. He was the whole package. It was great to play with him.”
“There's a million Brett stories. He would have been great for the fans to see every day (behind the scenes), just the entertainment,” said Shanahan, who played with Hull in St. Louis and Detroit. “He was brash, he was hilarious, he was sarcastic, he would sometimes push your buttons. But my lasting memory of him is just him coming out and playing phenomenal hockey, just capturing the excitement of the entire NHL.
“And it was all happening here in St. Louis.”
In a ceremony prior to Tuesday’s game vs. Calgary, Blues minority owner Tom Stillman announced the team would have a statue erected in Hull’s honor outside Scottrade Center, where he’ll join Blues legends Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis. The Blues also presented Hull with a painting featuring notes of congratulations from MacInnis, Peter Stastny, Scott Stevens and others.
In a short speech, Hull thanked the Blues, his former teammates and the fans for contributing to his success.
“You just don’t have the success you have unless you’re surrounded by great people, great fans and a great city,” Hull said. “And this place, St. Louis, is indelibly etched in my life. It's a wonderful place, and I'll have a BlueNote on my heart forever."