Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 33
The Stanley Cup Journal


In 16 NHL seasons, Bobby Hull played 1,063 games, and scored 610 goals, 560 assists and 1,170 points. He added 303 goals and 335 assists for 638 points in 411 WHA contests. After turning pro with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1957-58, his career later took him to Winnipeg and Hartford. (O-Pee-Chee/Hockey Hall of Fame)
For years, the Chicago Black Hawks had been the laughingstock of the National Hockey League. From the beginnings of the 'Original 6' era until the 1960-61 season, Chicago had only participated in post-season play six times, missing the playoffs on 13 occasions. But with the nurturing of young stars like Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Kenny Wharram, Bill Hay, Pierre Pilote and Elmer Vasko, one journalist described the team's ascent by writing, "The Black Hawks have come in four years from drinking beer in the cellar to drinking champagne in the penthouse."

Bobby Hull's modest start in the NHL — 13 goals as a rookie in 1957-58 and 18 the next season — only hinted at the explosive effect he would have on his team and on the league during his Hall of Fame career. He led the league with 39 goals in 1959-60 and scored 31 in 1960-61 (he would lead the NHL in goals scored six times and score 50 goals or more on five occasions).

In 1960-61, the Montreal Canadiens finished first for a fourth time in a row. Hockey experts predicted that the powerful Canadiens would win an unbelievable sixth Stanley Cup in a row that spring. But the powers had shifted. Perennial powerhouse Maurice Richard had retired and the also-rans of seasons past were now nipping at the heels of the almighty Canadiens.

It was just Chicago's fortune that they met Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs. The semi-final series started the way most thought it would — with a demonstrative Montreal win (6-2). But the Hawks rebounded in Game 2 with a 4-4 victory and Hull scoring one of their goals. Game 3 was tighter than squeezing a tennis ball through a garden hose. Murray Balfour scored from Hull in the second but Montreal tied the game with 36 seconds remaining in the third. The game went into triple overtime before Murray Balfour scored his second goal of the game, a powerplay marker, at 12:12. Canadiens' coach Toe Blake was so incensed he ran out onto the ice and threw a punch at referee Dalton McArthur.

The Golden Jet electrified crowds as he flew down his familiar left wing. Besides the Stanley Cup championship in 1961, Hull was the NHL's scoring leader three times, won the Hart Trophy twice and was named the NHL's most gentlemanly player once. Bobby was an NHL All-Star on 12 occasions.
(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Montreal stormed back in Game 4 with a 5-2 win. Then, Chicago reversed the trend and blanked Montreal 3-0 in Game 5. The Black Hawks did the seemingly impossible by ending the series with a 3-0 win to eliminate the Canadiens. Hull scored a goal and assist to add an exclamation mark to the victory.

It was Detroit's turn to face the Hawks in the Stanley Cup final. Chicago clearly had found their confidence and were ready for any opponents at that point. The opening game resulted in a 3-2 Chicago win, with Bobby Hull scoring twice. Game 2 went to Detroit by a 3-1 score but Chicago reversed that with a 3-1 win of their own in Game 3. Bobby Hull picked up a pair of assists in that contest.

Detroit snuck a 2-1 win into the mix in Game 5 but Chicago was not to be stopped. In Game 6, the Black Hawks skated circles around the Red Wings. Murray Balfour had scored twice, with Bobby Hull assisting on the first goal, when he was tripped into the goalpost by Red Wing badboy, Howie Young, breaking his arm in the process. Stan Mikita scored twice in the third to give the Chicago Black Hawks a 6-3 win…and the Stanley Cup!

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Former NHL star Dennis Hull was holding a cattle auction at his Cobourg, Ontario-area farm on Friday, September 16, so brother Bobby thought it would add to the excitement of the day to bring the Stanley Cup to the event. Now, any time Dennis and Bobby are together, a spontaneous combustion of fun ensues.

"I always wanted to make as much money as my nephew, Brett," said Dennis, sporting a broad smile and a twinkle in his eye. "And last year, I did!"

It was an auction with action when these boys got together. Pictured in Cobourg, Ontario are Bobby Hull (extreme left), Dennis Hull (to the right of the Stanley Cup), Eddie Shack (second from right) and Marcel Dionne (far right). (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
"I feel bad for Brett, I really do," he laughed, anticipating the punchline to his own joke. "Poor kid's down to his last $50 million!"

Although often left in the shadow of his superstar brother, Dennis Hull had a tremendous career of his own, scoring 303 goals and 351 assists in 959 games. In 1968-69, the Hull brothers established a record for single season goals by brothers when they scored a collective 88 goals, wreaking havoc on the frightened netminding fraternity.

But Dennis and Bobby weren't the only two hockey players in attendance at the Hereford auction. Marcel Dionne showed up as did Eddie Shack. "Eddie, what are you doing here at this auction," asked Dennis. "I've got a nose for value," laughed Shack, reminding fans within earshot of his advertising campaign for the Pop Shoppe some thirty years ago.

Buyers had come from all parts of Canada and the United States with the intent of purchasing the excellent cattle Dennis raises on his farm. Herefords have a distinctive red body colour while the head, front of the neck and underside are white. These cattle are very placid and are bred for their excellent quality of beef. Herefords are generally docile and fast growing cattle with good beef quality. An auctioneer up from Alabama spoke faster than a Bobby Hull slapshot and sold a number of beautiful bovine for the boys from Belleville.

The rain was coming down hard outside the barn where both the cattle and the Stanley Cup were being displayed, so mud was tracked everywhere in the massive barn but the buyers didn't seem to mind as they examined the Cup and enjoyed the barbecue Bobby had fired up. Many got pictures with the NHL stars and the Stanley Cup, then returned to the auction to place bids on bull.

One of Dennis's prized Herefords, a heifer named Phoenix (where, ironically, nephew Brent will play this season), got the thrill of its big, brown-eyed life when the bowl of the Stanley Cup was filled with grain and she got to eat from Lord Stanley's prized trophy. It didn't seem to matter that much to Phoenix the cow, but the hockey players sure got a kick out of the exquisite place setting. The Cup was dutifully scrubbed afterwards, as always, so that next time a player sips champagne from the hallowed bowl, he doesn't need to think about sharing germs with a prized cow.

It was a productive day for the Hull brothers and a ton of fun for all those who came out for the cattle auction. Although the rain drizzled down all day, the laughter never stopped and, when it comes down to it, it's difficult to have any beefs with an event that involves the Stanley Cup.

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On Friday, we turn to the final page of this summer's Stanley Cup Journal as we travel to Timmins with Frank Mahovlich and the Stanley Cup. Grab a sweater — it's definitely fall up in Northern Ontario.

Kevin Shea is the Manager of Publishing and Editorial Services at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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