Hull has mixed feelings when he lost his role as Blackhawks’ ambassador

When John McDonough began the Blackhawks’ ambassador program in 2008, his first phone call was to Bobby Hull.

“One of our first goals was to make it known that we were outside the aggression industry,” McDonough told Bob Verdi in 2010. “You can not have a meaningful present or a strong future if you are at war with your past.”

According to McDonough, his talks with Hull – which still holds the franchise record of 604 goals – lasted about two hours.

 

Blackhawk legend Bobby Hull greets participants at a previous team meeting at the Hilton Chicago.
Blackhawk legend Bobby Hull greets participants at a previous team meeting at the Hilton Chicago.
– Daily Herald File Photo

During a subsequent meeting with McDonough, owner Rocky Wirtz and all-time points leader Stan Mikita, Hull set out the terms that he and Mikita would agree to sign on the dashed line.

“I talked the most,” Hull said. “After we left, I was only about 15 blocks away and the phone rang. It was McDonough … He says, ‘Yes, I wanted to let you know that your compensation amount has been accepted.’

“I said, ‘And what about Mikita?’

“He said, ‘He will get the same as you.’”

Hull said yes, then called Mikita, who said to him, “My God, I should have let you negotiate for me my whole career!”

 

Taking back Hull and Mikita – and later adding Tony Esposito and Denis Savard – helped heal the gaping wounds that existed for large sections of the fan base.

The program has been very successful and still exists today.

A big change was made earlier this season, but when Hull was told that his services would no longer be needed. This means, with Mikita’s death in 2018 and Esposito 2021, that Savard is the only original member left. Chris Chelios was added in 2018.

 

Blackhawks fans take pictures of the Bobby Hull statue before a playoff game several years ago at United Center.
Blackhawks fans take pictures of the Bobby Hull statue before a playoff game several years ago at United Center.
– John Starks | Staff photographer

Hull was notified of Hawk’s decision by telephone late last year. He’s not sure who called, just that it was “some girl and some lawyer”. Hawks, who politely declined interview requests with Rocky Wirtz, CEO Danny Wirtz and Jaime Faulkner, CEO of Business, would not disclose that information.

“This is the only time I’ve ever been released from a job I’ve ever been in,” Hull said. “It’s a bit boring. I thought we ambassadors did a good job with the fans.”

Change of direction
When the news of Hull’s resignation broke a month ago, the Hawks released a statement that read: “We are redefining the role of the team’s ambassador – which unfortunately comes on the heels of losing two very special members of that family. As for Bobby, specifically, we came agreed earlier this season that he will retire from any official team role. “

Hull, who has had some disturbing incidents off the ice over the years, said he believes the Hawks made that decision to “hide their shortcomings” in the wake of Brad Aldrich’s sexual abuse scandal.

“Maybe I was used as a scapegoat,” said Hull, who was convicted of assaulting a police officer who tried to arrest him during a fight with his wife in 1986. “They brought up things that happened 50 years ago to hide their shortcomings with this one. pedophile. The person involved did everything wrong. (Aldrich) should have been reported to FB and it should have been over 12 years ago.

“If I had anything to do with it, I would have kicked (the shit) out of (him) and then called the FBI and said,” (this guy) is a pedophile. Put him in jail. “And it would have been over and Rocky would not have had to go through it.

“Rocky has been a great guy. And I still say he’s a great guy and I would stand behind him in hell or high tide.”

 

Bobby Hull is pictured March 12, 1966, after scoring his 51st goal of the season at Chicago Stadium.
Bobby Hull is pictured March 12, 1966, after scoring his 51st goal of the season at Chicago Stadium.
– UPI file photo

Hull has been accused of abusing spouses and was also quoted by a Russian newspaper in 1998 as saying that Adolf Hitler “had some good ideas” and that black society in the United States was growing too fast. He vehemently denied those quotes in a statement published by the Los Angeles Times, saying he was “deeply offended” by these “false statements.”

Hull did not want to discuss the subject further when he was recently interviewed.

“Alone again”
The fan base had a wide range of reactions when they found out about the Hawks’ decision to separate from Hull. In surveys on two Facebook Hawks pages, 42.6% of 202 respondents did not agree with the decision, 41% agreed and 16.3% were contradictory.

“Those who were not upset, that’s OK. They have their rights,” Hull said. “But the people who were upset, if you looked at them, you would have found out how much I meant to that group – teenagers or young people in their 20s (1950s). They are 75 or 80 now. They would tell you what they thought. “

Hull said that what the Hawks said to him over the phone bothered him a little too. He did not like that events from decades ago were cited as reasons for his dismissal.

“I did not deserve to (get those things) taken up again,” Hull said. “They could have said, ‘Bobby’s getting old. He will be 83 years old next birthday and we have decided that he can no longer keep up with what we have in mind for the schedule. “”

No matter what, Hull is not about to disappear from the public eye.

After all, his No. 9 still hangs in the United Center rafters, and statues of him and Mikita sit outside the United Center. The 83-year-old has also been to The Palace Grill Restaurant four or five times this season and sold a variety of memories and plans to return on April 12 and 27.

 

Bobby Hull was at Palace Grill in Chicago on Tuesday.
Bobby Hull was at Palace Grill in Chicago on Tuesday.
– John Dietz | Staff photographer

Hull said he had a “fantastic” time during his 13 years as ambassador. It started in earnest on March 7, 2008, with an astonishing ceremony on the ice where Rocky Wirtz received an astonishing ovation when he presented Mikita and Hull.

It continued with public appearances and thousands and thousands of handshakes at Blackhawks games over the years, with ambassadors leaving their suites to greet fans.

“When I was hired, I was in no man’s land. I was at sea,” Hull said. “I was not a Blackhawk and I was not a Winnipeg Jet, and I wanted to be back in this city at that time.

“I was happy and proud that they had asked me to come back and be a part of their organization because I always knew that Rocky Wirtz was a straight person and that I would love working for him.”

As the conversation progressed, Hull acknowledged that he had mixed feelings.

“I was disappointed,” he repeated. “But you want to know something? I was not really 83 when (the hawks called), but I was at a point where I had almost had enough of not doing what I wanted to do. I had other things I wanted to do.

“So I was not really disappointed with the fact,” Oh. I do not have to go to every match. I do not have to go to 40 matches a year.

“I was disappointed that it was the first time I was released from a job, but I was alone again.”

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