Growing up in rural Ontario, I was fortunate to be able to play hockey with my younger brother on Bonner’s pond, across from our house. We played as often as we could until the daylight faded and we could no longer see the puck. With only two of us on the ice, we switched positions often. In net we would pretend to be Tony O and out of net, Bobby Hull. Oh, how I loved being Bobby Hull!
Bobby’s third youngest son is Brett Hull. Brett was also a super star in the NHL. When Brett wrote his first book, I took advantage of a promotion I found in the sports section of the newspaper, where you could purchase the book and get it autographed by Brett Hull. That was a gift for my brother, a hockey nut and a collector of all things hockey.
Many years later, I had a son who took to hockey and played at the rep level. I went to all of his games and practices, except for when I had to be out town for work. At one of his practices that I wasn’t able to attend, I missed seeing Bobby Hull in the arena watching his grandson play. My son was 8 years old at that time and didn’t know who Bobby Hull was, but all the Dads did. They encouraged their boys to approach Mr. Hull and get his autograph. Bobby, being the gentleman he is, signed every one of their sticks! Later that night, I got home just before my son’s bedtime and he told me about meeting an old hockey player at his practice. He didn’t tell me his name. He no doubt had forgotten it, but when I saw the autograph I was dumbfounded. I had missed meeting my hockey idol because of a work commitment. To this day, that hockey stick, with Bobby’s signature HOF ’83, is proudly displayed above my son’s bed. I think he likes to remind me and rub it in.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the OIAA Provincial Claims Conference at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. I went with another colleague and a couple of ASAP guards who provided access control and various other duties. Dennis Hull, humorously known as ‘the third best Hull’, was the guest speaker during lunch. He was a great speaker, had lots of stories and made us all laugh. I remember Dennis when he played for the Hawks on the right wing with his brother Bobby, on the left. I never thought I would ever get the chance to meet him, but I got that opportunity after the lunch. It was great talking with him. He signed his book for me, which I will give to my brother. Later that day, a silent auction was held during the final dinner, where I bid on several pieces of hockey memorabilia. Luckily for me, there were 3 Bobby Hull items with his autograph on them. I watched the bid sheets ‘like a Hawk’ and was fortunate to come away the winner of a signed McFarlane figurine. This time I’ve decided to keep it and not give it to my brother. I’ve given him enough signed hockey memorabilia. It’s about as close as I’ll ever get to Bobby Hull, other than meeting his brother, ‘the third best Hull’.