Sons want to make their fathers proud, and fathers wish to see their sons surpass them. October 9, 2000 stood as just one day of many that Brett Hull made his father Bobby Hull proud. At Air Canada Centre that night, Brett helped the Dallas Stars defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs (3-1) by scoring one goal and two assists. The goal, his 611th with the NHL, surpassed Bobby’s 610 career NHL goals.By this point, Brett had already matched or surpassed Bobby’s record in numerous ways. Between the seasons of 1989-90 and 1993-94, Brett scored 50 plus goals in each of five seasons with the St. Louis Blues – matching Bobby’s five 50-plus seasons between his 1961-62 and 1971-72 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. Although Bobby had four consecutive 50-plus seasons, Brett had three 70-plus seasons (including a high of 86 goals during the 1990-91 season). In 1990-91 and 1991-92, Brett scored 50 or more goals within 50 games – besting Bobby’s 50 goals in 52 games in 1965-66. Two weeks shy of 28 years after Bobby became the 4th NHL player to reach 1,000 points, on November 14, 1998, Brett became the 53rd to pass the milestone. The following year, Brett scored his 600th goal. The Hulls have been the only father and son to achieve these tallies. After 19 NHL seasons, Brett had scored 741 goals and 650 assists for 1,391 points in 1,296 games. Bobby’s 16 seasons with the NHL tallied 610 goals and 560 assists for 1,170 points in 1,063 games. However, his 7 seasons (411 games) with the World Hockey Association (WHA) added an additional 303 goals and 335 assists for 638 points. These stats place Brett as the 4th-highest goal-scorer in the NHL, and although Bobby has dropped to 17th place in the NHL, he holds 2nd place in WHA goal scoring.
How did the Hull father and son amass so many points? Both have been credited for having a mean slapshot and powerful frame. Bobby, playing left wing, had a shot once timed at about 120 miles per hour. Having developed a curved hockey stick, he gained velocity and could move the puck differently. Brett, playing right wing, came to be known for his big shot and big mouth/personality. According to NBC Sports broadcaster Ed Olczyk, Brett’s unique shot “would accelerate and ascend and the goalie would have no chance.” Another NBC Sports broadcaster, Mike “Doc” Emrick, said, “He knew he could score goals and he knew he could shoot your lights out.” However, Brett “said often during his career that he would frequently wake up worried that he would never score another goal.” In getting into position to shoot, Bobby bull-rushed the net using his physicality to make space. Meanwhile, Brett seemed to disappear and magically reappear in open ice. Jim Johannson, USA Hockey’s general manager until his death in January, once said, “He was unbelievable at finding areas that no one was guarding.” Ron Hextall, goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers, commented, “When he comes in on the wing, he’s got an awful lot of speed. If you give him a hole, he hits it.” Their methods clearly worked.
Both Hulls earned their places on the Stanley Cup and in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bobby won with the Blackhawks in 1961 and with the Winnipeg Jets in 1976 and 1978. Brett’s championships came with the Dallas Stars in 2000 (thanks to his goal in triple overtime) and with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002. As for the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bobby was inducted in 1983 and Brett in 2009.