Bobby Hull #6

In this segment of an interview with the legendary Chicago Blackhawks player, Bobby Hull delves deeper into his love for the city of Chicago, Chicago fans, and his time as a hockey player. He also discusses the high salaries for current hockey players, in addition to retirement and his personal philosophies on sports.

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01:05Copy video clip URL Hockey great Bobby Hull recalls his time in Chicago playing for the Blackhawks, speaking of the fan-player dynamic. “I believe that the Chicago Stadium likely was the greatest stadium I ever played in, as far as the relationship between fan and player. The fans are right down at ice level, they’re surrounding you. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a group of people make as much noise as the people in the Chicago Stadium.” Hull continues to comment on the boisterous nature of the Chicago crowds, saying that, “they’d get going before the National Anthem was finished, and they wouldn’t stop until the referee dropped the puck.” He attributes many of the Blackhawks’ early leads to the fans’ cheering.

03:41Copy video clip URL “We’d have played for nothing,” Hull says, telling of he and his teammates’ love for the game and the fans. “As a matter of fact, we did play for nothing [in comparison to modern salaries]!” Hull proceeds to talk about the fact that in his first year as a professional hockey player, his $6,500 salary was a staggering amount of money for him.

04:30Copy video clip URL Hull reiterates his previous statement that he and his teammates would have played for no money, just to entertain the fans. This, he says, is the key difference between players of his generation and the current NHL players. “The kids don’t really know why they’re sitting on that big thick wallet; they realize that it’s because of those people, those 20,000 people that come and watch game in and game out.” Hull purports that the major factor in having a successful franchise is to have the players entertain the fans each and every game.

05:14Copy video clip URL “There will never be anything to take the place of me playing professional hockey here in Chicago,” Hull says, telling about the void in his life left by retiring from the game. He states that he sympathizes with professional athletes that have a tough time after retiring from their respective sports, explaining that his reason for retiring was simply fatigue. “I had got all I could possibly get out of the game of hockey, and I wouldn’t trade the time I had for all the money that the kids are getting now.” Hull remarks that it would be impossible for modern day players to have as much fun as his generation of players did.

06:26Copy video clip URL Hull continues talking about retirement, briefly mentioning his cattle business, which, he states, was something he could fall back on after hockey. Hull cites  Bobby Orr, a player who was forced to retire halfway through his career, as an example of the kinds of players for whom adjusting to retired life was much more difficult. He then recounts the numerous times at the end of the hockey season that he had said he was going to retire, only to return after a period of rest. The last training camp he went through, Hull says, was when he knew it was time for him to quit. “It just wasn’t fun anymore.”

08:10Copy video clip URL On his financial stability after retiring from hockey, Hull remarks that money was never a primary concern for him, buying himself out of his Winnipeg contract due to his unhappiness with the location. “I really don’t need a great deal of money, although I find that I have lots that I can enjoy myself with.” He proceeds to talk about the notion he had heard that “nobody reaches their potential until the age of 40.” The years from 20-40, he explains, inform one’s sense of business and the economy in general for the next 20 years. “From 40 on, heck, it’s a cinch to make money!” Hull then relates making money to hockey and his other career of breeding cattle.

11:40Copy video clip URL Hull claims that the single most important thing for anyone to remember in order to become successful is to never second guess oneself and to go with “the first thing that comes to mind.”  “Do the first thing, always.”

13:06Copy video clip URL Hull states that he lives in Willowbrook, Illinois, which leads him into the fact that he hadn’t gotten his green card for US residency until the previous year, after having left Chicago in a hurry to play for the Winnipeg Jets. He and his wife, he says, moved from Ontario to Willowbrook in order to be closer to Chicago and an airport. “Chicago is the greatest city in the world, and I never should have left there in 1972.” After moving to Chicago, Hull says that he was offered a job at Stone Container Corporation, where he feels fortunate to be working at the present time.

15:56Copy video clip URL Regarding the burden of fame and notoriety, Hull discusses his divorce, which was heavily publicized. “You know, she made me a millionaire,” he jokes. “I used to have 3 million.” He goes on to comment on the idea of “stressed athletes”, stating that during his days as a player, he “thrived on pressure”, whether it was from fans, his family, or himself.

18:55Copy video clip URL Hull talks about the importance for an athlete to be in good physical shape. “If I hadn’t been in good physical shape, I never could have done half the things I did.” He goes on to talk about the work he did during the summer as a farmer, wrestling cattle and throwing around bales of hay. “When I came back in the fall, I was in better shape than I was halfway through the winter.” His strength and stamina, Hull says, is what allowed him to be a successful hockey player, making up for his poor stick handling. He then claims that for an athlete to be a professional, one only needs to be able to do one or two things well.

20:27Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

 

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