Brett Hull stories are the best. Drinking, partying, half-assing it on the ice—you could make up a Brett Hull story right now and I'd believe it, just because his escapades have reached that rarified air where "authentic" matters more than "true." But here's a true one!
We know it's true because it's told by unwitting co-conspirator Kelly Chase, a teammate of Hull's on those '90s Blues and now the radio voice of the team. I think I've heard this one before, but never directly from Chase, or with the detail he relays to the Riverfront Times. It takes place after a 1993 game, when Hull and Chase realized neither of them had driven to the game.
A few moments later the Blues winger returns to the parking lot with the keys to head coach Bob Berry's Jaguar.
"Coach let you borrow his car?" Chase asks, surprised.
"No big deal," replies Hull with a shrug.
The two climb into the Jag and race off for some fun on the East Side.
It's 3:30 a.m. when they decide to call it a night. Coach Berry has an early morning practice slated to begin in just a few hours. But as Chase tries to open the frozen door to the Jaguar, the key snaps off inside the lock.
Not to worry, though. The security staff working the nightclub recognizes the players and brings out some beers and a bottle of rum. Someone builds a fire in an old oil drum, and just like that they're having an impromptu tailgate party.
They're all sitting there, swapping stories like old friends and passing around the bottle, when a locksmith finally arrives to fix the car. Yet Hull doesn't want the night to end. He invites the bouncers out for breakfast — his treat — at the Eat-Rite Diner.
The punchline involves Hull tossing the car keys onto Berry's desk and leaving Chase to face his wrath.
(And if you know East St. Louis—which hasn't changed a ton since the early '90s—it makes the whole mental image that much better.)
The Riverfront Times piece is actually about a legitimate, almost existential question: Is there a place in the NHL for Brett Hull? Never hailed as a great hockey mind, Hull's tenure in the Stars' front office was a disaster, though the bizarre dual-GM structure was probably just as much to blame.
After a few years in exile, the Blues hired Hull as their executive vice president, and he seems like he's finally found his calling—and it has nothing to do with hockey. He's a schmoozer, there solely to gladhand with fans around town, sell tickets, drum up publicity, and sex up meetings with corporate sponsors. You do business with the Blues, and you're likely to get some face time with a hockey legend. Ideally, St. Louis will get a financial boost from one of its most famous alumni, and Hull gets to hang around the game. He sounds like he's digging it, with minor changes:
"I don't drink beer anymore because I don't get to sweat it out the next day in practice," Hull explains. "I drink martinis."
Hull-o? Brett Hull is calling. Will St. Louis answer? [Riverfront Times]