Dennis Hull #1

An interview with former Chicago Blackhawks left winger Dennis Hull. Hull discusses his current career as the athletic director at IIT, his years playing on the Blackhawks, and what it was like to play in what some would describe as "the shadow of his brother", Bobby Hull.

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00:40Copy video clip URL Former Chicago Blackhawks hockey player Dennis Hull talks about how he came to acquire his job at the Illinois Institute of Technology as the athletic director, having taken over the job from Ed Glancy, who had been at IIT for over 30 years.

01:05Copy video clip URL Hull begins explaining what it was that attracted him to IIT. He cites Chicago itself as the primary draw, having lived in the city during his time with the Blackhawks. He states that after his retirement from hockey, Hull planned on living in Canada, but he and his family missed Chicago. “The first reason was Chicago itself, but after getting here, it’s much more than that.”

01:42Copy video clip URL On getting hired for the job as athletic director, Hull muses that the reason he was chosen over the other 80 people that had applied was because IIT believed he could bring the college some visibility.

02:15Copy video clip URL Hull goes into what he’s accomplished during his 4 years as athletic director at IIT. Though he says that the hockey team may have improved since his arrival, he does not believe that many of the sports teams have changed much. Hull praises IIT as an institution, applauding the coaching staff and recruiters in the athletic department, and states that education is paramount to students’ success at the school, more so than athletics.

03:09Copy video clip URL Hull discusses the school’s varsity hockey team and the fact that the team is still at club level due to a lack of funding. He goes on to jokingly refer to himself as the “owner” of the hockey team. On recruitment, Hull says that there are people that recruit for the team, though they don’t have much to offer besides the school itself. “What we have to offer is the fact that our placement record after graduation is the best of any school in the United States.”

04:29Copy video clip URL Hull tells about IIT’s strict acceptance policy, even in regards to athletics. “We’d love to have the best player that’s out on the field, but first of all, we have to find out if he’s academically qualified to go to IIT.” He then proceeds to reiterate IIT’s focus on academics rather than athletics. “You’re a student here first and an athlete second.”

05:21Copy video clip URL In reference to the hot-button issue of salaries for college athletes, Hull grins as he states that the issue has no effect on the college, as they do not have any money to offer athletes. Though he says that the school would not be able to pay the athletes even if they wanted to, Hull declares that IIT is able to offer 28 full scholarships to the players on the varsity teams, which is distributed among 75 students.

06:07Copy video clip URL Speaking about the competition between IIT and the other schools in the Chicago area for student athletes, Hull stresses the importance that IIT places on giving students a path to a career after playing sports. He cites IIT’s reputation as an educational institution as a deciding factor for students to apply.

06:55Copy video clip URL Hull says that despite other opportunities offered to him to move to schools with Division 1 college teams, he has remained at IIT. He affirms that the students at IIT are what he enjoys most about his job. Hull then begins to talk about his love of teaching in the classroom, saying that if IIT is able to adds a course in Canadian History (which he had taught previously), he may be able to teach once again.

08:12Copy video clip URL Regarding the Chicago Blackhawks, Hull claims to continue to keep a close watch on the team. “I live and die with them still.” Hull attributes the Hawks’ success to head coach Bob Pulford, whom he jokes about having kicked him off the team when he first began coaching.

09:20Copy video clip URL Hull comments on the ways in which he believes the game of hockey has changed since his retirement. He estimates that players have gotten taller, stronger and are now coached better overall. Hull goes on to describe the differences in star players from his era to the current one, saying that there are not as many big-time players like Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita or Phil Esposito. “It’s hard to rhyme off a list of names today that would be comparable to those people.” Hull continues to compare hockey currently to the way it was played previously, saying that hockey is now a “more offensive game,” with less of a focus on defense.

11:07Copy video clip URL Hull discusses his belief that hockey players are able to change the way the game is played simply by themselves, citing Bobby Orr as an example. Orr, he says, was one of the first defensemen to score goals in the double digits, which is what he believes to have inspired a focus in defensemen on offensive scoring.

11:45Copy video clip URL On his days playing with the Blackhawks, Hull attributes his success to the combination of himself and his line mates Pit Martin and Jimmy Pappin. “I think I could still play today, the way they play today.”

13:26Copy video clip URL Hull gives insight into what it was like for him to live in the shadow of his older brother, legendary left wing Bobby Hull. “It really wasn’t a problem . . . If I had to do it over again and play on the same team as Bobby Hull, that’s what I’d do.” He goes on to explain that because he and Bobby were part of a close-knit family, he felt no animosity or jealousy towards him, despite what fans or the newspapers may have said. “The only ones you’re trying to please are your coach . . . and your teammates.” Reflecting on whether or not he would have been a fan favorite if he did not share a last name with Bobby Hull, Dennis Hull says that he does not believe that his style of play was overly pleasing to Chicago fans the way it was pleasing to hockey fans in Canada.

15:20Copy video clip URL Hull compares Canadian hockey fans to American hockey fans, remarking that because many Canadian hockey fans are ex-players, they bring a bit more sophistication and understanding to the games. “If you ever get a chance to sit in a hockey rink in Canada, people are always surprised at how quiet it is. People just sit and enjoy the game.” Hull claims the crowds at Blackhawks games to be the loudest in the league.

16:50Copy video clip URL Regarding the consistent use of the slapshot in hockey, Hull says that he believes that his brother and Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion were among the first players to utilize it exclusively, changing way the game was played. “Prior to the slapshot, a player was not dangerous outside the blue line.”

17:50Copy video clip URL Hull talks about the origins of the slapshot, asserting that due to the strength of Bobby Hull and Bernie Geoffrion, they were able to master the shot and integrate it into the game successfully. “It really did change the way the game was played, maybe not for the good, but it’s an exciting part of hockey.”

19:20Copy video clip URL Dennis Hull recalls his relationship with Bobby Hull in their youth, saying that the two of them did not have a great amount of contact with one another aside from the summer. Though he had seen Bobby use the slapshot in junior league hockey games, Dennis says that he did not utilize it as much as when he was playing professionally. The introduction of the slapshot, Hull says, was key to scoring, and something that he practiced constantly.

20:32Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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