Dennis Hull #2

In this part of an interview with hockey great Dennis Hull, Hull recounts the decisions that led him to his career in the NHL. He also gives insight into the mindset of a hockey player, discussing the importance of faith in oneself and the fact that winning the Stanley Cup, not one's salary, is of the most paramount importance.

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00:40Copy video clip URL Dennis Hull, ex-hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks, recalls his childhood in Point Anne, Ontario, growing up with his brother Bobby Hull and 9 other siblings. Point Anne, Hull says, was a very small town owned by a cement factory, and has now disappeared. The Hulls’ house was located near the Bay of Quinte, an inlet off of Lake Ontario, where he and his siblings would play hockey when it froze in the winter. “We skated every day that we could.” Hull then jokes about when famed quarterback Joe Namath was picked on in the media for wearing white shoes, saying, “I’d been wearing my sister’s skates 20 years before that, and they were white!”

02:31Copy video clip URL Hull continues to talk about playing hockey during his childhood, speaking of the important role that hockey played in his life. “Just about every Canadian boy, his dream was to play in the National Hockey league.”

03:28Copy video clip URL Though his father worked in the town cement factory, as did many in Point Anne, Hull says that he never saw it as a possible career path for him. “Every professional athlete . . . knows from a young age that they are going to be a professional athlete. When I was 11 or 12, I knew that I was going to be a hockey player, and I was going to do everything possible in order to be one.” Hull claims to have never had any doubts about becoming a hockey player, saying “I don’t know how you know, you just know.”

06:03Copy video clip URL Hull explains that he had decided to become a professional hockey player at a time in his career when he was a less than stellar player. He proceeds to recount his progression into one of the best hockey players in his town at the age of 15. Hull then tells about the first time he had played in an indoor hockey rink on an organized team, playing 40 minutes each Saturday morning.

07:36Copy video clip URL In regards to cockiness in athletics, Hull discusses his belief that faith in oneself is crucial to success. “I think that you have to believe that you can make it. You don’t have to tell everybody . . .  but I think inside you have to believe you can make it.”

08:10Copy video clip URL Hull defines the notion of the “Sophomore Slump” as it relates to professional sports. He explains that the excitement and relief of playing an entire first year on a team informs one’s motivation during Sophomore year. “Your second year, you forget everything it took to get there, and usually your second year as a professional is your worst.”

09:28Copy video clip URL On older brother Bobby Hull’s decision to leave the Chicago Blackhawks in favor of the Winnipeg Jets during the 1972 season, Hull talks about the effect it had on him as well as his teammates. “We were devastated . . . I think if Bobby would have stayed, we would have won the Stanley Cup three or four years in a row.”

10:06Copy video clip URL Hull talks about the politics of the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association, saying that what upset his brother Bobby the most about NHL players was the fact that they would shop around the WHA for offers on contracts, then use those offers as leverage to re-negotiate their NHL contracts. Hull explains that Bobby most likely felt obligated to take a contract with the WHA, as he had given the Winnipeg Jets his word that he would play for a $1 Million salary, which they agreed to, while negotiations with the Blackhawks remained stagnant. Hull concludes that with Bobby’s deal with Winnipeg, he became one of the first players to improve the NHL salary structure.

13:53Copy video clip URL Hull reflects on his decision to retire from the NHL, rejecting the most common justification used by players about the game “not being fun anymore.”  Hull says that he decided to stop playing hockey when he got the feeling that his team no longer had a chance to win the Stanley Cup. The championship, he says, was more important to him than his own personal statistics or salary. “Hockey is the only sport, I think, with that thought process.”

15:47Copy video clip URL The attention placed on winning the Stanley Cup, Hull says, is an idea that is almost completely unique to hockey. “In hockey, every team, and every fan, and every city thinks that they have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.”  Hull affirms that this desire to win is more important to hockey players than money. Hull claims that this spirit and thought process is the same in every hockey league, comparing the varsity hockey team at IIT to a professional NHL team like the Blackhawks.

18:02Copy video clip URL Hull talks about the role that salaries and contracts play in the world of professional hockey, equating them to the importance of salaries at any other job. He explains that the promise of more money for players that need it could be the deciding factor in making up their mind about whether or not they want to come back and play the following year.

18:54Copy video clip URL Hull recalls the time in his life during his hockey career when he owned a farm with his brother Gary, raising cattle and planting crops. Though the farming lifestyle appealed to him somewhat, Hull says that he and his family wanted desperately to move back to Chicago.

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