September 05, 2012

Summit Series Heroes: Dennis Hull

With Bobby Hull, arguably the best Canadian player not on Team Canada, watching from the stands because of a dispute with the NHL over his departure to the WHA, Dennis Hull helped to add some of the Hull's legendary scoring punch in somewhat limited ice time.

But he almost didn't participate in the Summit Series either.

Dennis' initial reaction was not to attend Team Canada to show support for his brother Bobby in the controversial dispute he had going. But Bobby convinced Dennis that he should take this opportunity. And he's glad he did!

Dennis only dressed for 4 of the 8 games, but chipped in 2 goals and 2 assists. He took over from Vic Hadfield on his usual left wing spot on the New York Rangers "Goal A Game" line with Hall of Famers Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert.

"As we went along in the series, [head coach Harry Sinden] started selecting players who were role-players," Hull said. "In the last game, the left wingers were J. P. Parise, myself and Paul Henderson. Those weren't exactly household names.

"I was fortunate to get a chance to play on a line with [centre] Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert. Jean was a fabulous player to play with. He told me to just play like I did in the NHL and not feel the pressure and try to be the difference in the series."

Hull told the Globe and Mail in 1997 that one of the most amazing aspects of Team Canada was how the team of NHL enemies bonded so tightly and so quickly.

"We formed such a strong bond that you could never look at those players again as the enemy," he said.

Hull, who is a noted comedian and star of the public speaking circuit, also became good friends with Soviet netminder Vladislav Tretiak.

"I told Tretiak that he's become famous for letting in [Henderson's] goal," Hull said. "I said to him that 'if you had stopped it, you'd probably be a cab driver in Moscow today.' "

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