Blues retire Brett Hull's No. 16
The Blues didn't stop at retiring Brett Hull's No. 16 on Tuesday night. They also arranged to name a street after him.
Just the jersey would have been plenty for Hull, who thanked his enforcers for taking good care of him, admitted to his old coaches that he knew he could be a handful and even thanked the media while bragging that his exploits certainly made their job easier.
"To have an organization think that much of you is more than one guy can ask," Hull said.
Hull's nickname, The Golden Brett, was a takeoff of father Bobby Hull's moniker, The Golden Jet.
The pair are the only father-son combination to each score 600 goals and 1,000 points and now they're the only father and son to have their numbers retired in any sport.
Bobby Hull, whose No. 9 was retired by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1983, was outscored 741-610 by Brett.
The banner with Hull's number was slowly raised to the rafters to a Neil Young song with appropriate lyrics: "Old man take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you."
The team also arranged to call the street that borders its arena "Brett Hull Way."
Adam Oates was among the 20 former teammates who attended the ceremonies before the Blues-Detroit Red Wings game.
The current Blues players all wore No. 16 during warmups, just as they all wore No. 2 during Al MacInnis's jersey retirement ceremony last April.
"Brett, nothing compares to the three years I got to play with you," Oates said. "It was the highlight of my career."
Blues chairman David Checketts made honouring Hull a top priority when his ownership group took over last summer.
He was hopeful that the occasion, which prompted the first sellout crowd of the season for a struggling franchise often playing to half-capacity or less, would spur the beginning of a revival.
Hull inspired by Brian Sutter
Hull recalled a fiery dressing down from Brian Sutter, his first head coach with the Blues, as pivotal in his career.
The rookie said he thought Sutter was going to tell him, "Boy, am I lucky to be coaching you."
"He sat me down and had a half-hour tirade and I was flabbergasted," Hull said. "I had no idea how good I was, the impact I could have on the game.
"Without that meeting, I'm not sure I would be standing here today and I thank Brian so much for that."
Sutter was briefly a teammate before becoming Blues head coach for the 1988-89 season and he quickly recognized Hull's talents.
He said Hull was the best scorer he's seen in 30 years in the NHL and "maybe the best ever."
Brett Hull won two Stanley Cups, one each with the Dallas Stars and Red Wings, after leaving St. Louis when the Blues refused to honour his demand for a no-trade contract.
He is currently an assistant to the president of the Stars, but he said he's always been a Blue.
"From the day I arrived in St. Louis, you made me feel like I was born and raised here," Hull told the crowd.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to retire here. But I can tell you my heart never left."