While he may be much more well-known to Cariboo hockey fans for his hockey prowess, records and achievements in a distinguished NHL career (playing for the Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers and Chicago Blackhawks; both Hawks/Jets retired his No. 9 jersey), Bobby Hull is also well-known in the beef cattle industry as a long-time Hereford cattle/breeder.
In July he was in Olds, Alta. to be recognized by the Canadian Hereford Association at the World Hereford Conference, as he was added to their honour roll as a Canadian Hereford Breeder of Distinction.
The hockey legend was there in person to accept the beautiful keeper trophy, presented by Canadian Hereford Association President Randy Radau (Coulee Crest Herefords, Bowden, Alta.) As he accepted the award, Hull indicated that the award was much appreciated and the receipt of it ranked right up there among the hockey tributes/accolades.
Hull spoke about his early life (before hockey) in a small Ontario town, the eldest child in a family with 11 children, jokingly stating, “I never slept alone until after I was married!”
While his long career in hockey is widely recognized and well-documented, his involvement in the Hereford cattle industry has not been afforded the same coverage although “the Golden Jet” has been a Hereford breeder since 1959, a span of time lasting considerably longer than his illustrious hockey career.
But fame in one field doesn’t necessarily translate to notoriety in another, a fact aptly illustrated the next morning as I met, then conversed, with an American couple (husband/wife/ranchers from Oklahoma).
We discussed the conference in general, then the dinner the previous evening when they mentioned they had been seated at Hull’s table at the banquet.
They were genuinely puzzled by his apparent “star status” and asked several questions about Hull (do you know who he is, what made him famous?) as they were completely unaware of his legendary standing in the annals of hockey-history in Canada and the U.S.
After the award presentation, two Chicago “Hull-9” hockey jerseys were auctioned (to be signed, on the spot by Hull) with the proceeds (each sold for $2,000 plus) going to the Hereford Association’s Bonanza Fund.