Bobby Hull in 2008. March 7, 2008; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks former player Bobby Hull (9) speaks during a ceremony honoring his career before the game against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center. The Sharks beat the Blackhawks 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

One of hockey’s most prolific scorers has passed on. Famed NHL and WHA star Bobby Hull has passed away at 84, as per John Dietz of the Chicago-area Daily Herald:

Hull posted 610 goals (18th all-time) and 560 assists across 1,063 regular-season NHL games from 1957-72 (with the Chicago Blackhawks) and a final NHL season in 1979-80 (with the Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers) after time in the World Hockey Association with Winnipeg. He put up even better numbers in the WHA, where his signing with the Jets in 1972 was key to establishing that rival league’s credibility, and establishing better salaries for both NHL and WHA players. Hull finished with 303 goals and 355 assists in 411 regular-season WHA games from 1972-79, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. His passing led to many tributes from the hockey world:

Hull was a legendary scorer, and the first to break the 50-goal mark in a season (which he did in 1966, finishing with a then NHL record 54 goals and 97 points). He led the NHL in goals seven times, and scored 50 goals or more in an NHL season five times, a mark only reached six times by others (Phil Esposito twice, Maurice Richard, Bernie Geoffrion, Johnny Bucyk, and Vic Hadfield once each) before Hull left the NHL for the WHA in 1972. While Geoffrion is usually the one credited with inventing the slap shot, Hull was another early figure to prominently use it. And his slap shot was always feared, as shown in this 2017 NHL tribute (part of a series on the league’s top players over its first century):

As Dietz noted in that Daily Herald piece, though, Hull’s passing also comes with discussion about his off-ice behavior and comments. That includes accusations of spousal abuse, a 1987 conviction for assaulting a police officer who tried to intervene between him and his wife, 1998 comments attributed to him in Russian newspaper The Moscow Times that Adolf Hitler “had some good ideas” and that the U.S. Black population was growing too quickly (Hull called the attribution of those remarks to him “false and defamatory“), his difficult relationship with his son (and fellow NHL star) Brett, and more. Recent honorings of Hull from both the Jets and Blackhawks have come with controversy. That should all be remembered in the discussion around him.

[The Daily Herald; top photo of Hull in 2008 from Jerry Lai/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.