Though Hull still had some great moments in the '70s, many went unseen by hockey fans and his legacy started to unravel. So did his reputation when his deeply troubled marriage ended and his unseemly personal life was aired in divorce court.
The Devil and Bobby Hull is an unauthorized warts-and-all treatment of Hull's very public mid-life crisis in the 1970s, a time when sports were undergoing a sea change, when money mattered as much as or more than games, when an athlete's life away from the arena became fair game for the media.
Award-winning writer Gare Joyce weaves a fascinating and well-rounded narrative out of the prime and decline of Robert Marvin Hull, supported by interviews with Hull himself and many others who played with him and knew him throughout his career. This is a must-read book for hockey fans. It presents a compelling case that Hull is the most influential player the game has ever seen and its most unfairly overlooked superstar.
In his prime, few could dispute Bobby Hull's brilliance—the first NHLer to break the 50-goal barrier, the first star to use the slapshot as a scoring weapon, and the first hockey player to sign a million-dollar contract. With his Hollywood good looks, his body-builder torso, and a 100 mph blast that terrorized goaltenders, the world of hockey glory was his to lose. And he did. With his publicized marital troubles and his defection from the NHL to the WHA, Hull's star began to fall, leaving him broke and in exile from the game. Few today bother to list Hull among the legends of the game, but despite his flaws, he deserves a great deal of credit for his influence on the way the game is played today.
The Devil and Bobby Hull details the decline and fall of this legendary star and the damage, some of it self-inflicted, to his legacy.
Not only are Hull's remarkable on-ice achievements finally put in perspective, so are his achievements off the rink—including endorsements for a wide array of products (rare for an NHL player at the time) and his appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Joyce also describes how Hull's dramatic battle with the owners of the Chicago Black Hawks and his challenging of the reserve clause in his contract enabled him to move to the WHA and pave the way for other players.
A candid look at one of hockey's most gifted and controversial figures, The Devil and Bobby Hull tells the story of his extraordinary career and life—and why this remarkable man has not received his due.