March 12, 2010
The Golden Jet
The story of Bobby Hull learning how to skate has taken on the status of legendary lore.
When Bobby was four years old, his older sisters Maxine and Laura took him down to open sheet of ice a stone's throw from thier home in Point Anne, Ontario. They laced him up and after a few turns holding his sisters' hands, he was left to his own devices. The sisters skated away, no doubt assuming some hilarity watching young Bobby trying to get back to them. Much to their surprise, Bobby was able to skate, right from the get go.
The legend makes it sound like Bobby Hull was born to play hockey, and given the career he had in the game, few would argue with it. Bobby himself was too young to remember the incident, but did offer the following comments:
"I don't doubt (his sisters') word, but I do doubt that I could do any more than just get along. Anyway, there must have been something about the way I got along or the encouragement of my sisters that kept me at it. I was back the next day, and every day after that, skating until I was exhausted. Even at that age I must have had more than my share of muscle.
That muscle also became legendary. No one was stronger than Hull, not even his idol Gordie Howe. Those two could have combined to have won a tug-o-war contest against a team of Clydesdales.
Hull got his muscle from working on the family farm. Right from an early age he was assigned chores every day. He would bale hay, dig ditches, chop down trees, tend to the cattle and build corrals and barns. He would do this and his homework all in a big hurry, too. He wasn't allowed to play hockey until he was done.
Hull loved the farm, tending to several during and after his career. Sure, his hockey commitments both allowed him and forced him to hire out, but more likely than not you would see Bobby Hull out there slaving away, enjoying every minute of it.