The golden years of hockey may start when a player reaches the age of 35. No doubt, Gordie Howe and Chris Chelios would argue that, however either way, when a professional hockey player reaches that age, his playing days are numbered.
The golden years of hockey proved to be truly golden for ‘The Golden Brett’, Brett Hull. After playing 11 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, five with 50 or more goals and one 86 goal season, Hull was traded to the Dallas Stars in 1998 at the age of 34. Now, this was at a time when their Western Conference rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, had just won their second consecutive Stanley Cup during the 1997-98 season and looked confident for a three-peat in 1999.
In the three years that Hull played for Dallas, not only did Dallas outlast Detroit through the playoffs, but Dallas won the Stanley Cup in 1999 which was the first for Brett Hull. Detroit must have seen something in the Stars (no pun intended) and signed Hull on as a free agent in 2001. I think Detroit management figured out that if you can’t beat him; then acquire him. So at age 37, Brett Hull played in every game for Detroit in 2001-02 scoring 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points. And wouldn’t you know it; Detroit won the Stanley Cup that year, the second for Brett Hull! You could probably hear the slapping of high-fives in the Red Wing corporate offices of downtown Detroit!
Brett Hull hung up his skates in 2006 and the Blues retired his #16 jersey. During the ceremony, with Neil Young’s “Old Man” playing in the background, “The Golden Jet”, Bobby Hull walked out on the ice to hug his son, “The Golden Brett”.