Hull to join 'Golden Jet' in Hall of Fame
|Hull: Heading to the Hall|
“It is hard to put into words what this means to me; especially since I'm joining my father in the Hockey Hall of Fame," said Hull in a statement. “Simply getting to the NHL was a challenge for me, and I would like to thank all of my supporters who made many sacrifices on my behalf.”
The right winger is well-known for his ability to find an opening in the net and pull the trigger as he sits third on the NHL’s all-time scoring leader list with 741 markers behind only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. Hull became the fifth player in NHL history to score 50 goals in 50 games or less – a list that includes Gretzky, Maurice Richard, Mike Bossy, and Mario Lemieux.
“Everybody knows his ability to one-time the puck in and using the curve on a very flexible stick,” former teammate and fellow inductee Steve Yzerman said. “His wrist shot was outstanding – as good as there has ever been.”
Hull didn’t just have a good eye for the net; his on-ice vision made him a sharp passer as well. Brian Leetch, a teammate with Hull with the USA Hockey program and fellow 2009 inductee, was surprised by Hull’s aptitude to pass and the skill he possessed to do so.
“I think a lot of us every time we gave it [the puck] to him, we expected him to shoot it and let one go,” Leetch said. “There were a lot of times in the first week or so at practice that the puck would be coming back or he’d be putting it over someone’s stick or between someone’s legs, right onto someone’s stick. He’d be like, ‘You got to be ready.’ And he has a funny way of letting you know.”
Hull held dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada thanks to his American mother and Canadian father, allowing him to play for the USA Hockey program during his career. He represented America in two Winter Olympics, winning a silver medal in 2002, as well as two World Cups, the 1991 Canada Cup, and the 1996 IIHF World Championship. Hull entered the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame alongside Leetch in October 2008.
“I was with both Brian and Brett during the World Cup and the Olympics,” 2009 builder inductee Lou Lamoriello said. “Their careers exemplify, I think, where American hockey has come and how far along it has come. For them to be inducted today, and it’s an honor for me to be with them, is certainly a credit to American hockey and USA Hockey in particular.”
Yzerman knew Hull could score but didn’t fully appreciate how he excelled at both ends of the ice, not just around the opponent’s net, until Hull joined the Red Wings in 2001.
“He would never admit that to anybody, but he took pride in being an all-around player, being a complete player,” Yzerman said. “He wanted to kill penalties and he wanted to be on the ice in the last minute of the game. I enjoyed that about him.”
Hull won his second career Stanley Cup in 2002 with the Wings as the veteran on the “Two Kids and a Goat” line with then-younger Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. In his three seasons with Detroit, Hull recorded 207 points (92 goals and 115 assists) and added 24 points in 39 playoff games.
“We had a great team that year, and he was a big part of it,” current Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “He was fun to play with, he always had something to say on the ice. He could bring a smile to everyone’s face.”
When it came time for Hull’s former team, the St. Louis Blues, to retire his No. 16 sweater, it seemed only fitting to do so before a game between the Blues and Red Wings at Scottrade Center. For Hull, an induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame was the perfect way to cap off an impressive career.