Monday, September 9, 2013

Brett Hull officially returns to the Blues

By Andrew Allsman| Posted: September 10, 2013| Contact  |

Blues owner Tom Stillman, newly-appointed President of Business Operations Bruce Affleck, KMOX play-by-play broadcast Chris Kerber, and the man of the hour himself, Brett Hull, were all a part of Monday's press conference to announce Hull's return to the Blues organization.

Of course, the news was already out days ago when St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Jeremy Rutherford broke the news that Hull and the Blues were close to reaching an agreement.

"It was perhaps the worst-kept secret in all of St. Louis," said Stillman in regards to the announcement.

Hull, 49, left the Blues 15 years ago after 11 seasons with the club to play with the Dallas Stars. The Hall of Fame forward was all smiles on Monday as he was officially introduced as an Executive Vice President with the team.

“I never wanted to leave 15 years ago, and I’m glad I’m back, I can tell you that," said Hull to the sound of a cheering Blues fan base in the background.

“I’m really proud to be a part of Tom’s vision to bring a Stanley Cup to St. Louis and to the great fans we have here.”

Hull, who has spent his post-playing days with Dallas in a number of front-office roles, will focus his attention to the business side of the Blues. He is expected to handle a variety of tasks, but for now, he says he will be working on selling tickets.

Hull's experience with Dallas, and his connection with St. Louis made the hire an easy one for Stillman, who has been interested in bringing Hull on board since he bought the team in 2012. At one point, Hull was rumored to be a part of the ownership group led by Stillman, who, at the time, was pursuing the purchase of the team. 

"Brett Hull belongs with the Blues, it makes all the sense in the world for him to be there," Stillman said. "We've thought that from day one, but we wanted it to work in the right way where it's good for Brett and good for the organization. We think it's a great thing for all concerned."

A native of Belleville, Ontario, Hull played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League, but his best were with the Blues. The team is hoping the creativity and passion that he showed on the ice will carry over to his new job. However, it was made obvious on Monday, by the fans that filled the back of the press conference, that the city's love for Hull still persists.

"When Brett Hull is in town, there is a buzz," Stillman said. "People are excited. There is something special about his effect on St. Louis."

After all, Hull is a big reason hockey lives on in St. Louis.

“Many would say that Brett built this arena; many would say he built this fan base," said Stillman.

Hull made a huge impact on the city of St. Louis during his 11-year tenure. To this day, his name is still associated with franchise records, including: most goals scored in a regular season (86), all-time goals scored (527), hat tricks (27), power-play goals (195), and game-winning goals (70). The team is hoping his impact off of the ice will be felt as well.  

It was almost impossible for the hockey-loving owner Stillman to keep a business face during the press conference. To him, adding Hull to the team is more than just a PR move. However, Stillman did not mince words when discussing what it was like having Hull in the fold.

“We are elated that Brett Hull is coming home to the Blues.”