HULL ENDS HALL OF FAME CAREER
By: Russell Brooks
As the famous saying goes, "the mind is willing, but the body isn't."
That's one of the expressions Brett Hull echoed today at a press conference announcing his retirement after an illustrious 19 seasons in the National Hockey League that saw him finish 3rd all-time in goals (741) behind Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe, (801).
"I would like to thank Wayne Gretzky, Steve Ellman, Mike Barnett and Cliff Fletcher for giving me the opportunity to play for the Phoenix Coyotes organization," said Hull, who tallied 190 points in 202 career playoff games. "I am very proud of what I have accomplished in my career, but at 41, I felt that it was time to move on."
After the frustrations of a year and a half layoff, Hull just didn't feel he had what it took anymore to compete.
"I think (Wayne Gretzky) felt I was in the exact same spot that he was in a couple years ago when he (retired)," Hull said. "He said you did what you were supposed to do and play till the bitter end and you find out if you can or can't. Then you know its time."
The 41-year-old, Belleville, Ontario native played with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes, and finished with an amazing 1,391 points, 18th all-time and sixth among active players, in 1,269 games.
"It's always a sad day when somebody has to retire, but Brett Hull did a tremendous amount for the game of hockey," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "It was a pleasure to play with Brett and it is a pleasure to be his friend.
"He had tough decisions the last few days and he came to his decision, which I respect."
What Hull will do now that he is retired is unclear, but what is crystal clear is that this soon to be Hall of Famer will be missed by his teammates, coaching staff, and front office.
"While we respect the decision Brett has made today, we regret seeing him go," said Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett. "He brought skill, passion, and spirit to our hockey club for the too brief period he was here."
Although he wore his father's No.9 just twice, Hull was honored to wear the number that made his father famous.
"To be able to put number nine on was very special because I know what my dad meant to the game, said Hull, who joined the Coyotes on Aug. 6, 2004 when he signed as a free agent.
The accomplishments Hull has amassed throughout his career are mind-boggling. Nine selections to the NHL All-Star Game, a Hart Trophy in 1991 as the NHL's Most Valuable Player, NHL First Team All-Star three times and the Lady Byng Trophy, the NHL's most gentlemanly player, once.
Although no more accomplishments will be added to this list, one thing is for certain; Brett Hull will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.