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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

The night Bobby Hull's number was retired - December 18,1983

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Old
10-19-2014, 12:41 AM
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Fenway
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The night Bobby Hull's number was retired - December 18,1983

Today when a honored member of a hockey team has his number retired it is full blown extravaganza. That was not the case in 1983 when the Blackhawks hoisted #9 to the rafters at Chicago Stadium. His parents were there but for reason we would find out later, not his wife and children.


This video only exists because somebody at WSBK-TV Boston recorded the raw video coming from Chicago and saved it. Obviously nobody in Chicago saw it and viewers in Boston only saw what is in part 2 when announcers Fred Cusick and John Pierson went live.

This is simply fascinating to watch.







Last edited by Fenway: 10-19-2014 at 12:57 AM.
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10-19-2014, 01:05 AM
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Today when a honored member of a hockey team has his number retired it is full blown extravaganza. That was not the case in 1983 when the Blackhawks hoisted #9 to the rafters at Chicago Stadium. His parents were there but for reason we would find out later, not his wife and children.
So why weren't his wife and kids there? His wife, well, I am assuming this might be the time Hull was going through his divorce? That's fine. But Brett would have been 19 at this time and I don't know how many other children Hull had, but why wouldn't they be there?

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10-19-2014, 01:12 AM
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So why weren't his wife and kids there? His wife, well, I am assuming this might be the time Hull was going through his divorce? That's fine. But Brett would have been 19 at this time and I don't know how many other children Hull had, but why wouldn't they be there?
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Hull's life away from the ice did not always have the same high that his playing gave him. His first marriage ended while he was still a teenager. His second marriage -- to figure skater Joanne McKay, whom he wed in 1960 -- was filled with charges of mental and physical abuse. In an incident in Hawaii in 1966, Joanne said her husband held her over the balcony after hitting her in the head with her shoe.

After several more abusive incidents, she filed for divorce in 1970. However, she agreed to a reconciliation. In 1978, Hull threatened her with a loaded shotgun. Two years later they were divorced, a development which estranged Hull from his five children for several years.
http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/hull_bobby.html

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10-19-2014, 02:15 AM
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Yikes. I try not to read too much about the marriages of certain players. Sometimes you can't help it though, it's just there. Terry Sawchuk's book written long after he died told a lot of terrible tales about him. His wife seemed all too happy to talk about them. One of them being that a girl called their house one day claiming she was pregnant with Terry's baby. His wife said she never knew what happened to the girl - or the baby, just that Terry talked to her on the phone.

I knew the accusations against Hull were pretty nasty with his ex-wife. Maybe he wasn't husband of the year, I guess.

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10-19-2014, 03:08 AM
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Yikes. I try not to read too much about the marriages of certain players. Sometimes you can't help it though, it's just there. Terry Sawchuk's book written long after he died told a lot of terrible tales about him. His wife seemed all too happy to talk about them. One of them being that a girl called their house one day claiming she was pregnant with Terry's baby. His wife said she never knew what happened to the girl - or the baby, just that Terry talked to her on the phone.

I knew the accusations against Hull were pretty nasty with his ex-wife. Maybe he wasn't husband of the year, I guess.
But as a teenager I recall Bobby Hull signing EVERY last autograph at North Station which was under Boston Garden a full hour after a game. He was beloved by Bruins fans back then.

The video is amazing as it is uncut and shows the Hawks were of a mindset to just raise the banner and get out of here.

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10-19-2014, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Fenway View Post
But as a teenager I recall Bobby Hull signing EVERY last autograph at North Station which was under Boston Garden a full hour after a game. He was beloved by Bruins fans back then.

The video is amazing as it is uncut and shows the Hawks were of a mindset to just raise the banner and get out of here.
Bobby Hull would sign every autograph for everybody who wanted one, regardless of location. He would spend hours after practice signing autographs. He remains to this day incredibly gracious to his fans. Quite the dichotomy compared to his family life.

The Hawks = Bill Wirtz would rather have shamed Hull than put his number to the rafters. He did the barest minimum for Hull and the fans.

Chicago Tribune article here, scrolling about a third down.

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10-19-2014, 06:18 AM
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Yikes. I try not to read too much about the marriages of certain players. Sometimes you can't help it though, it's just there. Terry Sawchuk's book written long after he died told a lot of terrible tales about him. His wife seemed all too happy to talk about them. One of them being that a girl called their house one day claiming she was pregnant with Terry's baby. His wife said she never knew what happened to the girl - or the baby, just that Terry talked to her on the phone.

I knew the accusations against Hull were pretty nasty with his ex-wife. Maybe he wasn't husband of the year, I guess.
Remember a story about Gump and Hull. After a game against the Hawks, Gump is getting into his car to go home and hull shouts from his ride, to paraphrase, 'hey Gump, let's go get laid'. Gump, embarrassed just gets into his car. Gump's wife was in the car and heard Hull. Poor Gump.

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10-19-2014, 10:41 AM
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That really was quite the minimal ceremony. Shame on the Chicago management.

I like the way that some patron tossed his hat onto the ice, as if Hull had garnered one more hat trick.

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10-19-2014, 11:50 AM
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Bobby Hull would sign every autograph for everybody who wanted one, regardless of location. He would spend hours after practice signing autographs. He remains to this day incredibly gracious to his fans. Quite the dichotomy compared to his family life.

The Hawks = Bill Wirtz would rather have shamed Hull than put his number to the rafters. He did the barest minimum for Hull and the fans.

Chicago Tribune article here, scrolling about a third down.
Yeah, I always try and judge the players on how they acted and played in the public eye. I wasn't either of their sons or daughters or spouses of course. Maybe it wasn't easy to live with them, who knows? I know Mickey Mantle talked in great lengths at the end of his life about how he mistreated the people closest to him and how he regretted it. No he was a self-admitted lousy father and husband, but the fans loved him to death and I think the same feeling is there with Hull. He went above and beyond with the fans.

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10-19-2014, 02:45 PM
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Lots of interesting stuff there.

Arthur Wirtz died in the summer of 1983, so this might have been an attempt by Bill Wirtz to bring Hull back into the fold.

Brett Hull was in his draft year playing junior hockey on the other side of the continent, so he couldn't have been there. Agreed that it's strange his older brothers aren't. And even more strange that Dennis Hull isn't.

Very curious how tame the national anthem is. By 1990, only about 5 years later, it was a mindblowing roar from start to finish. Didn't realize that tradition had sprung up so quickly.

This would have had to have been one of Tony Esposito's final starts at Chicago Stadium, as he only played 16 games that year.

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10-19-2014, 05:06 PM
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Maybe I should ask this in a separate thread, but is it definite that the roaring anthem started in 1990?

Is it possible that it started earlier?

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10-19-2014, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
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But as a teenager I recall Bobby Hull signing EVERY last autograph at North Station which was under Boston Garden a full hour after a game. He was beloved by Bruins fans back then.
Toronto, Montreal, Detroit & New York as well. Bobby Hull was the NHL in the 60's, his Slapshot the Grand Slam Home Run of Hockey that pulled it into a new age & era, woke people up.... absolute Superstar (my favorite player in the 60's) and indeed, his team mates would often get seriously annoyed as Hull simply wouldnt stop signing autographs until everyone was satisfied, keeping the entire bus waiting often for 30-60-90 minutes.

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Remember a story about Gump and Hull. After a game against the Hawks, Gump is getting into his car to go home and hull shouts from his ride, to paraphrase, 'hey Gump, let's go get laid'. Gump, embarrassed just gets into his car. Gump's wife was in the car and heard Hull. Poor Gump.
Ya, re-told in the book by Gare Joyce The Devil & Bobby Hull that came out in 2011 and really quite an excellent read. Joyce while certainly very much respecting & admiring Hull as a player, recognizing his off ice contributions to the game does paint him as a somewhat tragic figure (which he is) without going completely over~board. One is left feeling kind of melancholic after reading it, sort of bittersweet as is the case with many of the greats be they athletes or entertainers. As early as the 60's when Hull was flying high, its Joyces speculation that Hull may have suffered several or at least one serious concussion, partially if not wholly responsible for some of his abhorrent domestic behaviour, and that over the last decade in particular he's been showing outward physical signs of post concussion syndrome. From the involuntary shaking of his arm & head to short~term memory loss & so on.

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That really was quite the minimal ceremony. Shame on the Chicago management.
By todays standards ya, but in 83 par for the course.

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10-19-2014, 05:18 PM
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Maybe I should ask this in a separate thread, but is it definite that the roaring anthem started in 1990?

Is it possible that it started earlier?
Started in the 1985 playoffs vs Edmonton.

http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=530513


5 years ago I was at Bar Louie in Evanston watching a game and I started talking to the guy next to me about hockey and it turned out to be Mike Adamle from NBC Chicago. I told him the Hull ceremony had shown up on You Tube and he asked me to send him the link.

Adamle told me he then sent the links to John McDonough who was appalled and said he would try to do something for Hull to make up for the snub.

Notice that back then Messmer sang the anthem on the ice instead of next to the organ.

Also in that clip was Michael Wirtz who was Dollar Bill's brother and was the person who hired a young Pat Foley in 1980.

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10-19-2014, 06:34 PM
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By todays standards ya, but in 83 par for the course.

Oh I beg to differ - here is some of Bobby Orr's night in Boston nearly 5 years earlier




Of note, Orr refused to thank Jacobs or Sinden but did thank Wirtz and Ivan. Orr still had not learned that Eagleson had lied to him about the Bruins offer.

You can easily find the other 3 clips on You Tube.

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10-19-2014, 06:54 PM
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Oh I beg to differ - here is some of Bobby Orr's night in Boston nearly 5 years earlier....
Well, some significant differences here Fenway. And no, Im not going to list them all but My God. 5yrs earlier, Orr had just very reluctantly finished playing and hadnt been gone from the scene for 11yrs as Hull had been in Chicago, over 20yrs since he'd hoisted a SC. And of course, its Orr, totally Eclipsed Hull, everyone else in the league. Loveable. Aw shucks boy next door. No darkside. No bolting to the WHA. Just on every level a Hero to Hull's semi Anti-Hero persona. Then theres the differences in the organizations. Just the way the cookie crumbles & I dont think Chicago did such a shabby job of it given the time, era, who was involved. Could it have been a lot better? Of course. But Im good with what they did there.

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10-19-2014, 07:16 PM
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Well, some significant differences here Fenway. And no, Im not going to list them all but My God. 5yrs earlier, Orr had just very reluctantly finished playing and hadnt been gone from the scene for 11yrs as Hull had been in Chicago, over 20yrs since he'd hoisted a SC. And of course, its Orr, totally Eclipsed Hull, everyone else in the league. Loveable. Aw shucks boy next door. No darkside. No bolting to the WHA. Just on every level a Hero to Hull's semi Anti-Hero persona. Then theres the differences in the organizations. Just the way the cookie crumbles & I dont think Chicago did such a shabby job of it given the time, era, who was involved. Could it have been a lot better? Of course. But Im good with what they did there.
But there was tremendous bad blood between Orr and the Bruins in 1979 and the Bruins hold grudges as well as anyone. I would be curious on what the Hawks did for Stan Mikita who stayed loyal to the Wirtz family and the NHL.

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10-19-2014, 07:59 PM
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But there was tremendous bad blood between Orr and the Bruins in 1979 and the Bruins hold grudges as well as anyone. I would be curious on what the Hawks did for Stan Mikita who stayed loyal to the Wirtz family and the NHL.
Im not sure what was done during Mikita's Jersey Retirement nor what he was up to work~wise post career. I know he had a Hockey School for the Hearing Impaired, was named an "Ambassador" with the Hawks... beyond that, in 2011 Chicago unveiled two larger than life bronze statutes outside of the United Center of Hull & Mikita in their primes, huge ("Greatest Day of my Life" according to Bobby Hull - Mikita - "beautiful, never thought of myself as beautiful but I will now") ceremony, so any disappointment over a haphazard or rushed Jersey Retirement of nearly 30yrs earlier quickly forgotten huh? Sad I know, but most of the 06'rs with the exception of Montreal really didnt show a whole lot of class in their treatment of former players, the alumni through the 70's/80's.

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10-20-2014, 04:04 PM
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Of note, Orr refused to thank Jacobs or Sinden but did thank Wirtz and Ivan. Orr still had not learned that Eagleson had lied to him about the Bruins offer.

You can easily find the other 3 clips on You Tube.
Yeah, the one thing that bothers me about Bobby Orr. Look, I know Eagleson was a scoundrel and a manipulator. The Bruins did offer Orr 10% of the team or something like that in 1976. They wanted to keep him. Eagleson probably knew this wouldn't benefit him at all so he let on that they didn't want Orr anymore.

I know you should trust your agent. But in all honesty you should NOT trust your agent. Ever. Not for something this important. Look, I don't care how long Eagleson had been representing me, I would still want to hear the Bruins tell me they don't want me with my own ears even if my own mother told me it was true. Maybe a bit nave of Orr, and it makes you dislike Eagleson even more. Fortunately Orr didn't have a season of hockey left in him anyway, but still..............

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10-20-2014, 04:07 PM
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Okay, quick question here. There is no doubt Bobby Hull would have been going through some troubling family issues at this time. The thing is, how many people knew that about him, even then?

My question is this. Do you prefer the days when sports stars (who did pretty much the same stuff the stars to today) had their private life respected and it wasn't all over the media? Or do you like it better that we've sort of abandoned this whole "innocent before guilty" theory and just banned a player at the mere hint of a domestic assault?

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10-20-2014, 04:41 PM
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^^^ The problem with this very good question BP is we are often looking at sport stars through two brains or lenses; our childhood brain that idolizes them and our adult brain that sees the multiple lensed reality of their entire being. The idolization of sport stars begins in childhood in my experience and is often quite an engrained experience. For me at least, I look back at the players I idolized and how I came to learn about their personal lives. Its still a lingering issue I struggle with occasionally. It also helps me understand them better, perhaps have some empathy for some of them. Now as an adult, I view them more as people with a particular elite talent; no different then any other member of society that contributes in a special way. As an adult, I no longer idolize them, but just try to enjoy their talents (or at least I try to for the majority. I have still found myself caught up in idolization at times). Unfortunately, this leaves we yearning for the innocent days of childhood when I did idolize them and their teams and my whole world hinged upon their performances. Also as an adult, I am more aware that any player or person is unsheltered from the realities of human existence, often arriving on the scene of their playing peak or contribution to society with any amount of baggage, history, etc... When an athlete or any other member of society does something that is disgusting, criminal or the like, I try to remind myself that they are, after all, still only human. This does not always lead to me not being able to judge them. That is only natural. However, I do try to take a step back and see if they are willing to take responsibility, help themselves or others. Thus my opinion of them may always fluctuate. Nobody's life is immune to secrecy. If we all walked around with our weaknesses, faults, bad behaviors, etc... on a personal jersey instead of a team jersey, I think we would all, or at least hope we would all, see that we have more in common than we do differences.

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10-20-2014, 04:47 PM
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I think it's very clear nowadays with today's media scrutiny that we should not make sports stars idols and/or rolemodels for our children.

That is of course, practically impossible to enforce since the media hypes them up so much that no matter what the children will always idolize them.


I however, do respect those athletes whom are still "squeaky clean" even after the scrutiny.

Then again, there are athletes whom we thought to be squeaky clean that were later exposed (like say.... Tiger Woods, Adrian Peterson, etc.). So once again we're back at the original point of, try not to idolize sports stars. They're not perfect, they're just people, people with a lot more money than the average joe (which means they can party more, have the funding to do drugs, hire hookers, etc.).

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10-20-2014, 10:58 PM
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I think it's very clear nowadays with today's media scrutiny that we should not make sports stars idols and/or rolemodels for our children.

That is of course, practically impossible to enforce since the media hypes them up so much that no matter what the children will always idolize them.


I however, do respect those athletes whom are still "squeaky clean" even after the scrutiny.

Then again, there are athletes whom we thought to be squeaky clean that were later exposed (like say.... Tiger Woods, Adrian Peterson, etc.). So once again we're back at the original point of, try not to idolize sports stars. They're not perfect, they're just people, people with a lot more money than the average joe (which means they can party more, have the funding to do drugs, hire hookers, etc.).
I agree. I think sometimes we do go overboard. I look at them as human as well. Who they take home with them at the end of the night whether the wife knows or not, isn't my business. I will say this, I think I would be mortified if I ever saw someone like Beliveau, Gretzky or Orr swearing in public or in an interview. It would be like seeing Mr. Rogers curse.

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10-21-2014, 01:07 AM
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Yeah, the one thing that bothers me about Bobby Orr. Look, I know Eagleson was a scoundrel and a manipulator. The Bruins did offer Orr 10% of the team or something like that in 1976. They wanted to keep him. Eagleson probably knew this wouldn't benefit him at all so he let on that they didn't want Orr anymore.

I know you should trust your agent. But in all honesty you should NOT trust your agent. Ever. Not for something this important. Look, I don't care how long Eagleson had been representing me, I would still want to hear the Bruins tell me they don't want me with my own ears even if my own mother told me it was true. Maybe a bit nave of Orr, and it makes you dislike Eagleson even more. Fortunately Orr didn't have a season of hockey left in him anyway, but still..............

OK it is well documented that Jacobs did offer Orr part ownership of the Bruins and microfilm records of the Toronto and Boston papers show it was reported at the time. Orr claims to this day he never knew.

Retired hockey writer Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune claims that Dollar Bill Wirtz put the squeeze on Eagleson back in 1972 when the Eagle needed NHL approval for the Summit Series. Wirtz was in a position to kill NHL participation but told Eagleson to give me Orr when his contract in Boston is done and I will approve the Russian series.

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10-25-2014, 10:49 AM
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OK it is well documented that Jacobs did offer Orr part ownership of the Bruins and microfilm records of the Toronto and Boston papers show it was reported at the time. Orr claims to this day he never knew.

Retired hockey writer Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune claims that Dollar Bill Wirtz put the squeeze on Eagleson back in 1972 when the Eagle needed NHL approval for the Summit Series. Wirtz was in a position to kill NHL participation but told Eagleson to give me Orr when his contract in Boston is done and I will approve the Russian series.
Sure makes you hate Bill Wirtz even more if the story is true. But would Wirtz really have that much influence over the Summit Series in 1972? The two most powerful teams at that time would have been the Habs and the Bruins.

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10-25-2014, 11:49 AM
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Geez, it looks like they spent at least $12 on that banner's design. Was the "#9" part hand-written with a black marker...?

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