Through all the excitement on Monday morning leading up to next weekend’s NHL All-Star game, the hockey world stateside also learned about the passing of Hall of Famer Bobby Hull. And when it came to making a formal announcement about his passing at the age of 84, the league took a very measured approach in speaking about the former Chicago Blackhawk, whose legacy as a player was not without its off-ice controversy.
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of one of its most iconic and distinctive Players,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement that listed Hull’s accomplishments as a player. “We send our deepest condolences to his son, fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Brett; the entire Hull family; and the countless fans around the hockey world who were fortunate enough to see him play or have since marveled at his exploits.”
There are many fans — some of whom took to social media to say as much — who didn’t “marvel at his exploits” as much as they scoffed in disgust at his off-ice antics. Hull was accused of assaulting a police officer and both of his wives and was quoted in a Russian newspaper in 1998 saying that Adolf Hitler “had some good ideas.” In 2022, he was relieved of his duties as an ambassador for the Blackhawks as the team dealt with its own run of scandal and internal toxicity.
While the Blackhawks as an organization also released a statement regarding Hull’s passing — and took a similar tone as the NHL did — there is no word yet on how the team and the league will deal with his legacy going forward. As longtime Blackhawks beat writer Mark Lazarus said on Monday, it will be no easy feat.
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