bobby hull, 1939—2023
The NHL Alumni Association is reporting this morning that Bobby Hull has died at the age of 84. His pre-eminence as a left winger who played 15 years for the Chicago Black Hawks can’t be denied. He led the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 1961 and, continuing to unleash his slapshot through the ensuing decade, scored and scored. Hull became the first NHLer to score more than 50 goals in a season when he notched 54 in 1965-66. Three times he won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer, and he remains Chicago’s all-time leading goalscorer, in both the regular season and playoffs. Twice he won the Hart Trophy; he was ten times a First Team NHL All-Star. He kept scoring in the WHA afters million-dollar defection from the NHL in 1972. With the Winnipeg Jets, he won a pair of Avco World Trophy championships with the Jets and was twice named the league’s MVP. He was voted to the Hall of Fame in 1983.
Hull’s legacy also includes accusations of abuse from two of his wives. He was charged in 1986 in Illinois for an assault on his third wife, Deborah; that charge was subsequently withdrawn when she told the court she did not want to proceed. In that same incident, Hull was fined $150 for assault of a police officer.
(Painting by LeRoy Neiman)
the human side of hockey!
Teddy Graham was a busy man in the winter of 1933. At his day-job, as a frontline defenceman for the Chicago Black Hawks, he and Taffy Abel were expected to do their best preventative work in front of goaltender Charlie Gardiner, keeping opposing forwards at bay, with minimal relief — Chicago was usually dressing just four defenceman at this time.
Then, that January, Graham got a promotion if perhaps not a raise: when the Black Hawks offloaded their captain, the veteran 39-year-old defender Helge Bostrom, Graham, 28, was appointed in his stead.
Still, with things so busy at work, Graham still managed to make a detour in early February of ’33 after the Black Hawks played in Detroit, heading north for a quick visit to Owen Sound, Ontario, his hometown, where he spent his summers playing baseball with the Brooke Millionaires.
Oh, and Graham was writing a syndicated newspaper column, too — well, lending his name and insight, if maybe not actually typing out actual sentences. In a series that would start appearing on newspaper pages across the continent in early March, Graham shared wild and woolly tales from his career. “Written On Ice,” the Tribune in Great Falls, Montana, headed the column, while the Buffalo Evening News touted it as revealing “The Human Side of Hockey!”
As it turned out, being human, Graham would fall to injury later around the same time. Along with several key teammates, he would miss the end of the schedule. Contemporary accounts aren’t clear on what was ailing him, exactly, but let’s assume that it had something to do with the wrapping we’re seeing in the scene here, dated to February, with Graham under the care of Black Hawks trainer Eddie Froelich and the supervision of coach Tommy Gorman.
Chicago finished at the bottom of the NHL’s American Division that month, out of the playoffs. With several games remaining in the regular season, Chicago owner Major Frederic McLaughlin announced that Gorman was the only employee on his payroll whose job was safe. “From today on,” he told the papers, “I will sell or trade any member of the squad, or all of them if necessary, to make certain of a berth in the Stanley Cup series next year.”
“It is apparent that not a few of our players have outworn their welcomes here,” he continued. “New faces are needed, and we’ll get them.”
That was good-bye for Teddy Graham: in October, he was traded to the Montreal Maroons in exchange for Lionel Conacher. (Charlie Gardiner succeeded him as captain.)
McLaughlin, it should be noted, got his wish: by the end of the 1933-34 season, Tommy Gorman had not only steered Chicago into the playoffs, he contrived to win the Cup, Chicago’s first.
(Image: © Chicago Sun-Times Media. SDN-074245, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, Chicago History Museum)
Baz O’Meara from the Montreal Star was on location at the Chicago Stadium on that Tuesday night in late March of 1961 when the Montreal Canadiens barged in on the Chicago Black Hawks for the fourth game of their Stanley Cup semi-final. “The crowd tossed a lot of paper cups on the ice,” he wrote, “and they littered the surface with paper darts and pieces of torn programs. They love rough hockey and they reveled in the fight featuring Bonin and Vasko, but there were no fights in the stand as last year when it took four or five policemen and ushers to quell tow quarrelsome customers.”
That’s the scene here, viewed from on high: somewhere beneath that knot of irked players is the first-period fracas between Montreal winger Marcel Bonin and Chicago defenceman Moose Vasko. Identifiable Canadiens are (#14) Claude Provost and (#3) J.C. Tremblay and for Chicago (#10) Ron Murphy and, viewing from afar, goaltender (#1) Glenn Hall. Jacques Plante is another distant spectator.
After much punching, grappling, and (as the Star’s Red Fisher wrote) “some expert shoving,” referee Eddie Powers sanctioned Bonin with a five-minute fighting major and two 10-minute misconducts. Vasko got five for his fighting and just a single misconduct. Bonin’s additional misconduct was for grabbing Powers’ shirt. Each of the misconducts came with a $25 fine.
Montreal won the night, going on to a 5-2 win that tied the series at two games apiece. It was Chicago, though, who won the next two games to take the semi-final, and the Black Hawks would continue on to beat the Detroit Red Wings to take the Stanley Cup that year.
(Image: © Chicago Sun-Times Media, ST-17500275-E1, Chicago Sun-Times collection, Chicago History Museum)
hawk on high
let nothing you dismay
hockey players at home: we’re guys from saskatoon, not what you’d call super mod
When last we saw them, it was 1970 and Keith Magnuson and Cliff Koroll were just a couple of Black Hawk bachelors living the high life in Schiller Park, northwest of downtown Chicago, out by the airport at O’Hare. They seem to have migrated north after that: a 1971 dispatch has our heroes situated in “the upper-class Chicago suburb of Park Ridge.”
“A long hike,” Magnuson confided to a reporter at the time, “but it’s only three blocks from where all the airline stewardesses live.”
Cheaper, too. Whereas Koroll and Magnuson had been shelling out $375 a month in the first place, and the rent now was $325, Magnuson explained that they were paying just $290, because the owner was a hockey fan.
Various descriptions of the players’ home décor survive. A 1970 description of their set-up:
In the Koroll-Magnuson living room there’s a black-and-white houndstooth couch; three contour chairs and a coffee table set in a sociable semi-circle in the bulge of a bay window; an off-white wall-to-wall carpet and a stereo unit mounted on flat, black walls. The halls are very white, and in Keith’s bedroom — among the “now” hints of flared, belled pants, blazer suits, buckle shoes and Wellington boots, as a traditional Swedish instinct for personal tidiness — is a large print of a leopard hanging above a leopard-patterned bedspread. (In Cliff Koroll’s room, it’s all zebra, more hi-fi and the apartment’s large TV set.)
It’s hard to tell whether this is the old place or the new. Could be, too, that they stayed put, and the newspapers reporting their locations were confused, so all these historical descriptions are of the same apartment at different stages of its evolution. Maybe? Possibly so.
Either way, designer Irv Caplan seems to have been responsible for the touches of tragical hipness and safari wildlife. He’d done Bobby Hull’s house in Glen Ellyn previously. He quoted Koroll and Magnuson a cut-rate price of $5,000 to re-imagine their place, and they’d agreed. “But when we saw all the stuff coming in,” Magnuson later recounted, “we really flipped. We’re guys from Saskatoon. We’re not what you’d call super mod.”
A 1971 feature described “a living room filled with plastic see-through chairs and three bare white tree branches stuck in huge white flowerpots, a dining room papered in black-and-white stripes like a referee’s shirt, and a burnt orange bedroom with a fake leopard bedspread. There were also one black-and-white and three colour TV sets and three stereo sets in the apartment.”
From a 1973 account we get the scoop that the scene we’re seeing in the top photo involves “Naughahyde masquerading as zebra, plastic ibex horns, and contrasts in black and white with red carpeting.”
Magnuson’s bedroom featured the mounted bill of a 150-pound marlin he’d caught while fishing off Jamaica, along with a blow-up of a grinning Magnuson that had featured on a 1970 cover of Sports Illustrated. Also on display, as noted by a visiting reporter, Paul King:
On a dresser sat a gold-plated hockey puck that Bobby Hull gave Magnuson when he scored his first NHL goal, and on top of it Hull had added a gold-plated tooth — the first that Keith had knocked out of another NHL player’s head: Earl Heiskala, Nov. 11, 1970.
I guess I’m not surprised to learn that Magnuson had a bar in his bedroom, which is to say (as King does) “a bar-cum-bookshelf.” This was home to several trophies and “an impressive five rows of hardcover books (from Nabokov to Joseph Heller).”
Those all belonged to Koroll, Magnuson confessed. “I only read when I have to know something,” he said. King pursued this:
He has read two of Dale Carnegie’s books, Lloyd Percival’s Hockey Handbook (“It was my bible as a kid”) and [Jim Bouton’s] Ball Four. He remembers reading Steinbeck’s The Pearl once, and a few other novels. But he forgets what they were.
hockey players at home: an ultramod pad on the outskirts of the city
Keith Magnuson made his debut as an NHL defenceman in 1969 for a Chicago Black Hawks team that lined up Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull, Pat Stapleton, Pit Martin, and Tony Esposito.
On the domestic side, the 22-year-old Magnuson found an apartment with fellow rookies Jim Wiste (a left winger) and Cliff Koroll (he played the right), both 23. All of them were Saskatchewan-born — Magnuson was from Saskatoon, Koroll from Canora, and Wiste from Moose Jaw — and they’d all played together, too, at the University of Denver.
Domiciling in the NHL, they found a place in Schiller Park, 24 kilometres from downtown Chicago, in what a visiting Saskatoon reporter classified as “a development for single people.”
On the ice, Wiste got into 26 games and notched eight assists. Koroll collected 18 goals and 37 points, while Magnuson had 24 assists (no goals) to go along with his NHL-leading 213 penalty minutes.
Vancouver claimed Wiste in the NHL’s expansion the following summer, so he moved out: as the new season rolled around, Chicago reporters noted that the apartment previously known as Bachelors III was now Bachelors II.
Or — sorry, apartment doesn’t do the place justice. The proper terminology is contained in a Hawks’ profile that Robert H. Bradford wrote for The Chicago Tribune in December of 1970: Magnuson, Wiste, and Koroll were roosting in an “ultramod pad on the outskirts of the city.”
Koroll described the set-up: “We’re six minutes from the airport and there is limousine service right at our door. We have three bedrooms downstairs and three upstairs. We also have a den and a coloured television. It costs us $375 per month.”
The question is, in years ensuing, did Magnuson and Koroll make a move or did they just redecorate? Stay tuned: more to come on this.
might as well jump
chicago’s opening act, 1926: the going was sticky
A crowd of 7,000 was on hand at Chicago’s Coliseum on a night like this 96 years ago as the Chicago Black Hawks made their NHL debut on Wednesday, November 17, 1926 against the Toronto St. Patricks. The two captains shook on it before the game got going: that’s Chicago centreman (and future NHL coaching great) Dick Irvin on the left along with Toronto’s Bert Corbeau. “The Chicago team showed better combination and condition than their opponents,” was the report wired back to Toronto’s Globe after the expansion Black Hawks had prevailed by a score of 4-1.
Hughie Lehman was manning the Chicago net that night; the goals came from George Hay, Irvin, Gord Fraser, and Rabbit McVeigh. John Ross Roach did his best between the Toronto pipes. Scoring for the St. Pats was another coach-to-be, Hap Day, playing the right wing as he did in those days before he dropped back to the defence.
“The ice in the second period started to melt a bit,” the Chicago Tribune noted, “and the going was sticky and the puck jumped and rolled frequently making shots difficult and accuracy in passing almost impossible.” Trib correspondent Frank Schreiber wasn’t overly impressed by either aggregation, all in all. “Both teams fought hard,” he wrote, “but neither displayed more than an average attack or defence.”
full steam ahead
A birthday today for Clem Loughlin, born on a Tuesday of this date 130 years ago in Carroll, Manitoba. Seen here on the right in December of 1934, he was 42, in his debut season as coach of the Chicago Black Hawks, who would go on to finish the year in second place in the nine-team NHL’s American Division. The Black Hawks were the defending Stanley Cup champions that year, but they fell in the first round of the ’35 playoffs to the Montreal Maroons, the eventual winners. Loughlin would coach the Hawks through three seasons in all before Chicago’s fickle owner Major Frederic McLaughlin replaced him in 1937 with a referee and baseball umpire, Bill Stewart.
That’s 34-year-old Taffy Abel percolating in the steambath, veteran defenceman, who spent the fall of ’34 withholding his services in a contract dispute over a $500 raise Major McLaughlin didn’t want to grant him. Abel blinked in December, returning to Chicago from his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to stretch and steam himself into playing shape. It didn’t work out, but by January of ’35, Abel had come to an agreement with Conn Smythe of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a mid-season tryout. Abel soon changed his mind, though, deciding to hang up his skates for good and return home to Michigan. He and Loughlin would both get into the hotel business, incidentally, Abel with Taffy’s Lodge in Sault Ste. Marie and Loughlin with the Viking Hotel, in Alberta’s Sutter country.
(Image: SDN-076819, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, Chicago History Museum)