came to Minnesota-Duluth in the fall of 1984, notable mainly
for his lineage. The affable forward quickly made a name
for himself, however, scoring 32 goals and 60 points as
a freshman and helping the Bulldogs to Western Collegiate
Hockey Association regular-season and playoff titles and
a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four.
Bulldogs finished fourth in the WCHA the following season,
but the Belleville, Ont., native scored a school-record
52 goals and added 32 assists in just 42 games and earned
a spread in Sports Illustrated that season – virtually
unheard of for a college hockey player.
think anytime a coach can have the respect of the
players but still be able to have fun with them …I
think that helps get the players to play harder for
– Brett Hull
would leave Duluth at the conclusion of the season, joining
the Calgary Flames for a pair of playoff games. Now in his
18th NHL season, he earned the Lester B. Pearson and Hart
Memorial Trophies in 1991, hoisted the Stanley Cup twice
and is now closing in on a milestone 700th-goal.
of the greatest scorers of all-time, Brett Hull of the Detroit
Red Wings sat down with Inside College Hockey’s Mike
Eidelbes prior to the team’s intrasquad game in Grand
Rapids, Mich., last month to reflect on his dazzling college
College Hockey: When you were making the choice between
playing college hockey or going the major junior route,
was there still a stigma attached to the chances of college
players making it in the NHL?
Hull: (The stigma) had been dispelled by me very
easily because my two older brothers had gone the junior
way and it didn’t work for them. They both ended up
playing college hockey in Canada. They were both a big influence
on me deciding to go to college and I’m glad I did
because it was the best two years of my life.
A lot of notoriety surrounded the collection of future Hall-of-Famers
on last year’s Red Wings roster. Looking back at the
Minnesota-Duluth team on which you played as a freshman
in 1984-85, there was a similar collection of talent in
the sense that there were a number of guys – yourself,
Bill Watson Jim Johnson, Norm Maciver, Rick Kosti –
who were among the best in the college game at that time.
Can you draw a parallel between the two?
It’s kind of hard to compare because everybody in
Detroit knows how great the players are. In college, there
were a bunch of college kids and you didn’t know how
they were going to turn out. But if you look back in hindsight,
it’s very similar with a group of enormously talented
How did you end up in Duluth and could you have picked a
better place to play college hockey?
It’s one of those things …you play junior and
Tier II up in Canada and everywhere is a ways to go to visit
schools and you’re going to have to miss games to
see schools. I just happened to pick Duluth as one of the
five I visited and I fell in love with it right away.
You’re known as someone with a dry sense of humor,
and someone who’s pretty blunt. Your coach at UMD,
Mike Sertich (now at Michigan Tech), is kind of in the same
mold. Was he a good fit for you in that sense?
He really was. He was a great coach with a great sense of
humor and really dealt with the players very well. I think
anytime a coach can have the respect of the players but
still be able to have fun with them …I think that
helps get the players to play harder for him.
Which Sertich look do you like better – with the hair
You know, I like them both. I’ll always like Mike.
He’s been a big influence on my career so far, and
I’m just glad he’s still coaching. I saw him
last year (at the 2001 Great Lakes Invitational). It was
nice to see him. We sat down and talked a little bit and
reminisced a little bit.