It’s like the Sermon on the Mount, isn’t it?
I love Brett Hull. I do, honestly. His cocksure arrogant smirk was on the front of many hockey cards that I got as a kid, and is on the 50/50 club card that’s up on my fridge (solely because I stumbled across it somewhere). He had a bit of a rep as not being fan friendly and not being able to refrain from speaking his mind, but when you had numbers like he did in St. Louis, who the hell cares? He made hockey an event in St. Louis in the 1990s, and the franchise owes him for a lot of fans and a lot of dollars. It was painful to see him walk and more painful to see him raise the Cup with Dallas and Detroit, especially when you look at who the Blues let walk during the ’90s and the awful management of Mike Keenan – they had a decent shot at a Cup if people would’ve stayed in StL. He might be Dallas’ “Ambassador of Fun” (or one of their Executive VPs), but he is synonomous with St. Louis.
Of course, the Blues retired his jersey on December 5th, 2006, right before a pounding from the Red Wings. That was one of the few times the Blues sold out that season other than the free food nights. The Blues were bad, and this retirement ceremony at least gave the team something to be happy about.
Hull was honored again, both by St. Louis and by Dallas, for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. Nifty pre-game ceremony before a win over the Flames and all, but the highlight was the Dream Team that the Blues asked Hull to put together. Really drove home all of the people who’ve left over the years, but it was still an awesome way to say congrats to Hull.
The Blues have said “thank you” with a number retirement and “congrats” with a ceremony. The third and final part of the Hull Worship Trilogy will come on October 9th, when the Blues will honor him yet again with a statue in front of Scottrade Center to go along with Bernie Ferderko’s and Al MacInnis’ statues. Everyone knew this was coming sooner or later, and why not? The Cardinals have a calvacade of statues honoring their great players, so why not the Blues? We’ve had quite a few greats wander through the team over the past 43 years. I think that it’s more than appropriate to honor the guy who is still synonomous with the team by giving him a huge hunk of polished bronze.
I might be one of the few people who don’t think that the Hull Worship is tacky or sad. Listen, very few teams get a chance to have a player of his caliber come through their organization. Edmonton and LA have Gretzky (I choose to ignore his 10 seconds in STL and the Rangers have scads of others to come before him). Pittsburgh has Mario Lemieux. Why shouldn’t St. Louis have someone like that?
Upper Deck proves my point.
My main issue is having the ceremony on opening night. We’re not playing a big rival that night (we’re playing Philly), and the first home game of the year is a sure fire sellout. The Blues’ll have quite a few of those over the year, so why not dedicate the statue at one where the sell-out isn’t a sure bet? Statue + give away of mini-statue = butts in seats.