THE NIGHT CHICAGO STADIUM FELL SILENT
Engine engine No. 9 going down the Chicago Line!
By The Late Troy Hull – Author, who passed away Nov 6th, 2020.
I always thought this was symbolic of my Uncle Bob, BOBBY HULL.
My uncle was like a locomotive. He was clocked at skating 29.7 MPH and his amazing slap shot at 118.3 MPH. The Golden Jet started his glamorous career in Chicago in 1957, and by 1961 was a star player in the playoffs when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. My uncle continued to be a key player with Chicago for some years later but never to see another Stanley Cup.
In the early ‘70’s Bobby changed the way professional hockey players were treated by the owners by ‘defecting’ to the WHA. The first million-dollar player. Billy Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, banned my uncle from the Stadium for quite some time. Wirtz was known to be bull-headed, but I think he met his match with my uncle. It wasn’t until December 18, 1983 that my uncle returned to his home ice to see his #9 retired in front of his family and fans, which was the same year that he became a member of the Sports Hall of Fame.
Billy Wirtz passed away on September 26, 2007, leaving ownership to his son, Peter who then turned the team over to his brother, Rocky. Rocky made some major changes, including hiring Dale Talon as General Manager, his best decision ever. Both Rocky and Dale agreed that having Bobby and Stan Makita as Ambassadors of the Blackhawks would get the fans back to the Stadium. However, getting the Golden Jet back would not be easy, as he still resented Billy Wirtz. It is said that at this time Dale called my other uncle, Dennis, also a star player with Chicago, and offered him a position too. My uncle Dennis, the comedian, told Dale ‘ I will coach all home games as long as they are played in Cobourg’ (his neighbouring town).
Guessing that didn’t work out for Dennis.
My uncle finally agreed to terms with the management andstarted his new career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007. The first home game in 2007 my uncle Bob walked into the new Stadium, head held high, as it should be. He entered his press box with Stan and there was dead silence in the Stadium. It is said that my uncle asked Stan ‘who died?’ Stan turned to his longtime teammate and said ‘ The Legend’ just walked in. I think two ‘Legends’ attended the first home game.
The Golden Jet can add two more Stanley Cups to his amazing resume.
In memory of Troy
The February 2021 issue of Total Sports Quinte Magazine – Hockey Edition is dedicated by Kelly Leigh Martin in loving memory of her best friend Troy Hull who passed away after a very short diagnosis of cancer on November 6, 2020.
There are people you meet in life who become a significant part of who you are. They become like a soul mate. They have your back and would do anything for you. This is who Troy was to me. We were a real life “Will and Grace” for more than 22 years. Troy never wasted a day of his life. He didn’t just think about doing something, he tried, he learned and he tried again. My father raised me with a wise saying “you never fail … you only learn” and learn we did … Troy and I.
In early 2017, Troy wrote a story called “Engine engine #9 going down Chicago Line. It was about his uncle the famous hockey player Bobby Hull. I published that story in the first issue ever of Total Sports Quinte Magazine in May 2017. Well, needless to say Troy was immediately hooked as an aspiring writer, and would soon work with me to publish his first book “Raisin’ Hull”. It’s a bit of a funny story as to how we came up with the name; We were drinking some red wine one night (if you read the book you will see the significance of red wine) and the song “Raise a little Hell” came on the radio. Our co-partier, Todd blurted out “Raise a little Hull”! And that is where the name came from.
By October 2017 Troy had worked hard writing short stories about growing up in the Hull family. I illustrated and put the book together. Our friend Bob Cottrell edited the book. I will never forget the day Troy headed to Concord, Ontario with his dad to pick up the printed copies of “Raisin Hull”. His father Garry was so proud and silently read the book all the way home on that trip. We quickly worked on a book launch event to be held at the Boathouse Restaurant in Belleville where surprisingly we had more than 200 people show up. I know in my heart Troy’s mom Lois had a little to do with the turn out! She would update Troy and tell him that she had received RRSP from Troy’s uncle Dennis Hull, their lifelong friend, Brian McFarlane along with pretty much every member of the Hull family. “Troy’s Mom” (my forever name for her) later told me that it was one of the happiest days of her life. She felt like she was going to Troy’s wedding.
Troy and I had many journeys travelling to book signings. One signing I will never forget was when Indigo books invited Troy to a group signing with some other authors. I was so excited, I said, “Troy you are going walk in there and they are going to BUY YOUR BOOK”! He laughed and quoted me so many times on that statement. The authors were gathered around with their big hard cover books talking about how many people attending their book launch. The numbers were 15, 20, 40 … it got to Troy and you had to see him and realize what a funny person he was. He was proudly holding his little book that he described as a “readers digest” and he said to the group; “well, I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging but I had almost 250 people at my book launch”! The other author’s mouths’ dropped as they were in disbelief. We will never really know why the huge turn out at Troy’s book signing. Some would say that it was because of the family celebrities who were in attendance. I say, it was Troy’s Mom – head of the household – when she said mark this on your calendar you did so and showed up at her baby boy’s book launch!
I have struggled a bit at which story to put in this memorial edition of Total Sports Quinte Magazine – Hockey Edition. Troy’s last story he sent to me in July 2020 described his depression and how he is passionate about helping people with depression but without the rest of the stories the first one leaves the reader in suspense and sadly there will be no continuing chapters. I really want Troy’s memory to be about happier times and so I decided to run the article where it all started … Engine, engine #9 – what better page in the magazine than pg 9? As I look at the cover of our book Raisin’ Hull now … I see the bottom line … “Remember me” … I didn’t realize the signifigance that would someday have. I will always remember you my BFF Troy.
Love always and forever, Kelly
– Sadly, Troy did not get the chance to write the chapters of his second book “Breaking the Silence”. RIP our friend – Richard “Troy “Hull January 5, 1968 – November 6, 2020