'Just incredible': Winnipegger and former teammate remembers Bobby Hull
Without Bobby Hull, the Winnipeg Jets wouldn’t be in the NHL right now. That’s how one of his former teammates feels about the late Jets forward.
Hull passed away on Monday at the age of 84 and he is being remembered by Joe Daley as one of the best teammates and friends a person could ask for.
Daley played with the Jets and Hull in the World Hockey Association from the 1972-73 season until 1978-79.
Daley, who is from East Kildonan, stuck around in Winnipeg after his playing career and now runs Joe Daley’s Sports and Framing with his son.
“When (Hull) joined the Jets in Winnipeg, he was probably in the top two or three players in the world,” said Daley.
“Over the years, playing with him, getting to know him, getting to see what he could bring to the table was just incredible.”
Daley said Hull was a superstar on the ice, with his speed, skill and at the time the hardest shot in the league. Off the ice, he was always doing interviews, signing autographs and interacting with fans.
“I had a lot of respect for him and I think he had a lot of respect for me. As teammates, that’s what you want. I think you brought that to the dressing room and taught us how to be pros.”
Daley feels Hull is one of the reasons that the NHL came to Winnipeg.
“I’d like to think that we can go and cheer on the Winnipeg Jets today because of the fact that Bobby and (Ben Hatskin) got together and decided Winnipeg was going to be a major league city for hockey,” he said. “It’s hard for me to fathom the NHL would come knocking on our door saying, ‘I think Winnipeg deserves a franchise.’ I think we have a franchise today because of what we all got going in 1972.”
That is a sentiment expressed by current Jets head coach Rick Bowness.
“He helped grow the league to where it is today by bringing in those four teams from the (WHA) in ’79 and the continued expansion after that,” said Bowness.
While speaking with CTV News, Daley was also asked about some of Hull’s off-ice transgressions. Hull had allegations of spousal abuse and was also convicted in 1986 for assaulting a police officer.
“I know a lot of things have been said and suggested. It doesn’t do me any good to repeat them when I have no knowledge if they are fact or not,” said Daley.
He added as a friend and teammate, there was no one better, but he knows Hull had a life outside of his friendship.
“I didn’t live with him 24 hours a day. The time I spent with him was fun times, good times, and great times. I would rather have my memories of him in that regard than for me trying to dive into areas of people’s lives that have nothing to do with me.”
While with the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA, Hull played 411 games, scoring 303 goals and 638 points. When the Jets made it to the NHL, Hull played part of a season with the team scoring another four goals and 10 points in 18 games.
- With files from The Canadian Press
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