3 minute read

Bobby Hull

Signs With World Hockey Association

It seemed that Hull had almost single-handedly revived the Blackhawks' fortunes and his salary climbed to $100,000 for the 1968-69 season. Yet he faced a series of battles with the team's owners. After investors started up a rival hockey league, the World Hockey Association (WHA), in 1972 to compete with the NHL, Hull was one of the first players they approached about the venture. "Going to the WHA was not one bit about money," Hull recalled in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Allen Abel in 1998, "I had been at war with the Blackhawks' management for years. We hated each other." Still, when the WHA made an offer of a quarter million dollars a year, plus a one-million-dollar signing bonus, Hull thought the offer was bogus. "I thought it was a joke," he told Abel, "I pretended to go along with it, just to scare Chicago. Then my agent, Harvey Weinberg, said, 'Bobby, these guys are serious.'" The total value of the final contract with the WHA's Winnepeg Jets came to $1.75 million, which ensured the WHA a huge amount of advance publicity for the new league.

Career Statistics

Yr Team GP G A PTS +/− PIM SOG SPCT PPG SHG
Black Hawks: Chicago Black Hawks (NHL); Jets: Winnipeg Jets (WHA, later NHL); Whalers: Hartford Whalers (NHL).
1957-58 Black Hawks 70 13 34 47 62
1958-59 Black Hawks 70 18 32 50 50
1959-60 Black Hawks 70 39 42 81 68
1960-61 Black Hawks 67 31 25 56 43
1961-62 Black Hawks 70 50 34 84 35
1962-63 Black Hawks 65 31 31 62 27
1963-64 Black Hawks 70 43 44 87 50
1964-65 Black Hawks 61 39 32 71 32
1965-66 Black Hawks 65 54 43 97 70
1966-67 Black Hawks 66 52 28 80 52
1967-68 Black Hawks 71 44 31 75 14 39 364 12.1 8 2
1968-69 Black Hawks 74 58 49 107 -7 48 414 14.0 20 2
1969-70 Black Hawks 61 38 29 67 +20 8 289 13.1 10 2
1970-71 Black Hawks 78 44 52 96 +34 32 378 11.6 11 0
1971-72 Black Hawks 78 50 43 93 +54 24 336 14.9 8 3
1972-73 Jets 63 51 52 103 37
1973-74 Jets 75 53 42 95 38
1974-75 Jets 78 77 65 142 41
1975-76 Jets 80 53 70 123 30
1976-77 Jets 34 21 32 53 14
1977-78 Jets 77 46 71 117 23
1978-79 Jets 4 2 3 5 0
1979-80 Jets 18 4 6 10 7 0 25 16.0 1 0
Whalers 9 2 5 7 3 0 13 15.4 1
NHL Totals 1063 610 560 1170 640
WHA Totals 411 303 335 638 183

After sitting out several games when Chicago sued to prevent his departure, Hull joined the lineup of the Jets, where he remained for the next seven years. He won most valuable player honors in the 1972-73 and 1974-75 seasons and was widely regarded as the WHA's biggest star. Even Hull's popularity could not pull the entire WHA out of its management problems, however, and it folded in 1979. Four of its teams and dozens of its players were absorbed into the NHL, and Hull finished out his career playing for the league's Hartford Whalers in 1980. Now in his forties, Hull practiced with the New York Rangers in preparation for a comeback in 1981, but he did not make the team's final cut. In all he had played fifteen seasons with the NHL, seven seasons with the WHA, and one season split between the two leagues.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsHockeyBobby Hull Biography - Hockey Prodigy, Top Scorer In Nhl, Chronology, The Nhl's Most Popular Player