November 08, 2009

Hull of Fame

He scored 741 career goals (third all-time), 110 game winners (second), and 103 postseason goals (sixth). He won two Stanley Cups, plus an Olympic silver medal, a World Cup, a Hart Trophy and a Lester B. Pearson Award.

He is Brett Hull. He is no longer just the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull. He is now a Hall of Famer, too.

Bobby Hull was the dominant player of the 1960s, and one of the top ten players of all time, some will say top five. For all his accomplishments, you get the feeling he has never felt this much pride.

"To have your kid come along and play the game the way Brett Hull played it and accomplish what he accomplished, playing the game the proper way and becoming the third-highest scorer in the history of the game, it is elating to me to be able to join him this weekend to go in the Hall of Fame, to be the only father and son, of any sport I think, in the Hall of Fame."

(We have to note here that Lester Patrick and son Lynn Patrick are also HHOF inductees. There are other fathers and sons in the HHOF, but not strictly as players, but rather as coaches, builders or broadcasters.)

Both father and son succeeded because of incredible understanding of the game and a brilliant and blistering shot. But Bobby was not always involved in Brett's life as a youngster. Bobby and wife Joanna McKay got divorced. Joanna and the kids moved to Vancouver, while Bobby's profession kept him far away most of the time, in Winnipeg and briefly Hartford.

Brett thought the world of his dad, and loved playing hockey, but playing in the NHL never even entered his mind as a kid.

"It wasn't until I got my first letter from a U.S. college, which I believe was from Michigan State, and I went and talked to my coach Rick Kozuback and we had a discussion, and from there I realized maybe I can take this somewhere else," Hull said Thursday on the NHL conference call.

While both were Hall of Fame goal scorers, they were very different people.

When Brett's brother Bart Hull asked if Brett idolized his father, Bart said: "Brett Hull never looked up to anybody. He marched to his own drummer."

That "drummer" got him maligned from time to time, but Brett credits his outlook on life for his success.

"But I think the reason I had success is that I never lost that attitude while I was playing that I was just playing with my friends or buddies, and to go out and enjoy it and have a good time. Sometimes the coaches got a little upset with me because of that. But I think the success I had was because of that."

While everyone is congratulating father Bobby this weekend, Brett is quick to credit his mother for her role in his success.

"I think the genetic makeup I have, easygoing, don't let a lot of things bother me, never really have any problem with pressure -- I think that all came from my mother.

"She's an unbelievably intelligent woman. I think as much as my hockey sense was genetically gifted from my father, being able to decipher or disseminate the information I was getting was definitely from her. She was always very, very supportive. When you have structure like that, it sure makes everything easy."

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