National Gastronomique

SONDRA GOTLIEB March 1 1973

National Gastronomique

SONDRA GOTLIEB March 1 1973

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HULL

JACK BATTEN

Being and selling the World Hockey Association

Bobby Hull felt lousy. He was sitting slack and tired against the rich grey upholstery in the backseat of Ben Hatskin’s black Lincoln Continental. Hatskin, president of the Winnipeg Jets and Hull’s boss, was behind the steering wheel, guiding the car with one nonchalant hand through the brilliant cold winter noon in downtown Winnipeg. The Continental moved silently except for the noise Hull made clearing his throat of all that damned phlegm.

“Doesn’t that sound rotten?” he apologized. “I dunno what’s wrong. I got the runs in Boston and I been no good ever since.”

The morning Hull had put in hadn’t come as any relief to his condition. He’d been up at a quarter to eight, time only for half a cup of coffee. Then he’d driven to CKRC for a phone-in radio show, to the Winnipeg Arena for a light team drill before the game that night against the Los Angeles Sharks, then to a photographer’s studio to choose the color pictures for a special one-dollar Bobby Hull program.

“Arrrrgrahhhh,” he gargled in the back seat.

Hatskin wheeled the Continental into the driveway of the Fort Garry Hotel. He stopped a few feet from a no-parking sign and told the doorman to keep an eye on the car. Handshakers ringed around Hull in the hotel lobby, businessmen who showed him big grins and admiring deference. There was another emotion at work, too, something like gratitude. “Thanks for coming to Winnipeg, Bobby,” one man said.

The businessmen belonged to the Kiwanis Club, and Hull was a head-table guest at their luncheon meeting. They escorted him into the hotel’s ballroom, a cavernous room done in French Provincial trimmings and gold-painted chandeliers. The turnout, the president mentioned, was the biggest of the year. Waitresses served mushroom soup and veal cutlets. Someone read into a microphone the names of members on the mend in hospital. The president handed out cigars to three men celebrating birthdays, called for a round of applause for the member who’d sold the most Kiwanis apples, and introduced the head table. Hull drew the noisiest hand. Hatskin, also a head-table guest, introduced as “the fella that had the guts to bring us major league hockey when the monopoly that runs the NHL deprived us of top hockey and gave it to Atlanta and Long Island,” came second in applause. Jack McKeag, Manitoba’s LieutenantGovernor, a husky, informal man in his mid-forties, a former Kiwanis president, ranked third.

The luncheon’s advertised speakers took their turns at the microphone, three Kiwanians, including the LieutenantGovernor, who reminisced for 15 minutes each about their trip to Moscow during the Canada-Russia hockey series. “The Russians,” one of them said, “seem to enjoy their regimentation.” The three finished and the president asked Hull for a few words. He hadn’t expected to speak, and for a moment, as he stood up, he looked touchingly vulnerable. He’s a surprisingly short man, not more than five-feet-ten, but he radiates muscle. His smile, projecting honest charm but with a touch of satire to it that takes away the saccharin, is his best expression. The upper half of his face is dented with the blows of 20 hockey years; there are scars around the eyes and breaks down the nose. He’s a no-sell advertisement for hair transplants; his haven’t taken, and he combs the few remaining blond strands from left to right over the crown of his head.

The moment of vulnerability passed in a hurry. Hull talked for 15 minutes. He was relaxed, funny and frank, neither a dumb jock nor a smart-ass jock. He told the audience that Harry Sinden had phoned him in August to say he was on Team Canada but that the NHL owners later overruled Sinden. He sank a shaft into Al Eagleson, whom Hull clearly doesn’t like, referring to him as a Judas character. He said Team Canada might not have won the series “if they hadn’t crippled Kharmalov who always controlled the play when he was out there.” And he ended, dramatically timed, on a ringing climax: “You people have been overdue for pro hockey for too damn long, and I’m proud to be a part of the Jets.” The Kiwanians rose and cheered.

Out in the hotel driveway, two cars waited, the Lieutenant-Governor’s with a chauffeur behind the wheel and Hatskin’s Continental with the doorman keeping an eye on it. Hull leaned into the backseat upholstery, tired again. He wore a tight, wistful little smile.

“Y’know,” he said, “when the Russian team came to Winnipeg, all their players asked for me. They had their pictures taken with me and we had some good long talks about how to play the game.” Pause. “I’m told I was the only Canadian player the Russians wanted to meet that way.” Pause. “I would have liked to’ve played in the series.”

Hatskin spoke from the front seat: “Those were big men in the community at the lunch today, Bob.”

“Sure were.”

“That’s who we need on our side.”

“Gotcha.”

Hatskin drove the Continental into the parking lot outside the Winnipeg Arena where the Jets have their offices. Hull switched to his own car to drive home for a sleep before the game against Los Angeles. He was carrying two cakes he’d bought at the luncheon, proceeds to a Kiwanis kids charity. The Kiwanians had cheered him for that, too.

The two men who organized the WHA, Gary Davidson, a lawyer from Santa Ana, California, and Dennis Murphy, a marketing executive from Fullerton, California, warmed up for the job by starting the American Basketball Association. The two lost money on the ABA. They recouped with the WHA. They sold the first 10 franchises in the league for $25,000 each, then split the $250,000 as a kind of finder’s fee.

“Hockey has fallen into the hands of non-hockey people,” says Mark Mulvoy, who writes about hockey for Sports Illustrated and who says he’s the only writer, maybe the only person, to see games in every WHA and every NHL city. “It’s the money men who call the shots, not the sportsman type of guy, the Conn Smythe type we used to have. Not local people either in a lot of cases. Just investors looking for a property.”

A Los Angeles hustler named Mike O’Hara, who is now busy promoting the first professional track and field tour, bought the San Francisco franchise with a partner for $25,000, then peddled it six months later to a Quebec group for $215,000. A Dayton, Ohio, lawyer, James B. Smith, took on the Houston team. Nick Trbovich, a Buffalo games manufacturer, poured money into Ottawa’s franchise. And so it went.

JASPER

Miami’s team dropped out when the local civic council demanded one parking space for every four seats in the arena the club was building. Too expensive. In Calgary, the franchise’s money man, an oil executive named Bob Brownridge, grew ill with cancer, and the franchise’s hockey man, Scotty Munro, elected to fold the team. The league itself moved in to prop up the New York Raiders when the franchise, mostly under the burden of a crippling deal for the use of Madison Square Garden imposed on it by the New York Rangers’ owners, went bust. But in one way or another, the WHA staggered into business with 12 teams.

“Except nobody took us seriously,” says Winnipeg’s Ben Hatskin. “Not till we signed Bobby.”

Hatskin worked out the deal with Hull: one million dollars out front, another million in Hull’s bank account by December 1, 1972, a third million over the next 10 years for services as left winger, coach and, not the least, public relations man. “So,” Hatskin explains, “at the next owners’ meeting I told them the whole league was gonna benefit — right? — and everyone should throw in for the front million dollars.” Which is why the huge blowup of the Hull payment hanging in the Jets offices shows the crucial cheque to be drawn on the account of WHA Properties Limited.

(Hull, incidentally, didn’t bank the entire bonanza, even after taxes. Some went to pay off money advanced to him years earlier by the late James Norris of the Chicago Black Hawks, Hull’s old team. Hull considered it something less than a loan. Arthur Wirtz, present Chicago owner, called it a loan. Wirtz won. Hull also paid out for an attractive 15room house, priced around $200,000, complete with indoor swimming pool, on a large corner lot in the Tuxedo area of Winnipeg. “I’ll tell you what sort of district Tuxedo is,” says Don Wittman, a Winnipeg TV personality and a neighbor of Hull’s. “The NDP doesn’t bother to run candidates out there.”)

With Hull signed and the first WHA pucks dropped, the new league presented two questions. How would it affect the NHL? Would the WHA itself survive?

To the first, Alan Eagleson, speaking as the NHL Players Association boss, has the answer: “I’d say in the first year the WHA plus normal inflation has cost the NHL five million dollars in increased salaries. Bill Harris, the number one draft choice from the Toronto Marlboro Juniors, wouldn’t have got $250,000 for his first two years out of the New York Islanders if the WHA hadn’t been bidding for him too. In 1971-72, players’ salaries made up 24% to 28% of the NHL’s gross receipts. Now it’s 40% to 45%. And take the average salary increase for individual players — it was about 15% in 1971-72, more like 35% this year.”

But will the WHA last?

“Last?” says Ben Hatskin. “Why else spend millions on Bobby Hull?”

Five thousand, one hundred and five people showed up for the Jets game against Los Angeles on the night, a Tuesday, of the Kiwanis luncheon. The 5,105 cheered when Hull came out for the pregame warm-up. They cheered when he appeared for his first shift and for his first slap shot (it missed the LA net, cracked against the glass and rebounded all the way to centre). They cheered louder for the announcement of Hull’s assist on Winnipeg’s third goal than they did for the announcement of the goal scorer, Chris Bordeleau. They blew their minds when Hull himself scored the sixth Winnipeg goal, a hard shot, not a slap, from close in off a lovely sweeping move around Los Angeles’ right defenseman. They even cheered when a nervous man from the Selkirk Steelers team presented Hull with a steel puck for, so the nervous man said, Hull’s promotion of junior hockey. Our Bobby: 5,105 minds thinking as one.

The game was a laugher, 8-0 Jets. The level of play was often closer to senior amateur than to NHL professional. And most of the evening’s entertainment value came in those moments when Hull powered his slap shots, when Hull wheeled at his own blue line and headed up ice waiting for the pass that he and everyone else in the building knew was coming his way, when Hull swept in on the Los Angeles goal in that characteristic move of his, guiding the puck in the curve of his stick with one hand, holding off the checkers with the other. No player anywhere, you thought at those moments, can lift a hockey crowd the way Bobby Hull can. But what were those moments? Were they symbols of something to come in the WHA, a move ever upward in the calibre of play? Or symbols simply of Hull’s last hurrahs?

The game offered a couple of other, lesser symbolic incidents. In one, Bordeleau, the centre on Hull’s line, had the puck breaking across the LA blue line. His right winger, Norm Beaudin, was open. Hull on the left was surrounded. Bordeleau passed to Hull who lost the puck in the traffic.

“I have to get the guys not to look for me all the time,” Hull said after the game. “They always want to pass me the puck. In one game I had to bench myself for a couple of shifts because they weren’t playing their normal game when I was there. All they did was pass to me.”

Larry Hornung, a defenseman, scored Winnipeg’s seventh goal. The announcement over the Arena’s public-address system gave the goal to Bordeleau. Hull shouted something at the officials’ bench near the Jets’ own bench. One of the officials picked up the phone connecting him to a booth high over the ice. A few seconds later, a man rushed from the booth into the press box.

“Bobby says Hornung scored,” the man said, flustered.

“That’s right,” a reporter answered him, and the man hurried back to the booth.

Someone asked, who was that?

“The official scorer.”

The public-address system announced a change in the last goal, Hornung not Bordeleau, and the reporter said, “They take Bobby’s word for most things around here.”

“Well,” Hull said later, “you gotta remember the officials haven’t had 25 years experience running big league hockey like they have in the NHL. We’re all brand new.”

When Ben Hatskin sits at his desk, he sits very very still. Nothing moves, not his smallish, direct eyes, not the large, handsome, impassive head, not the hefty body. He is a very composed man. His clothes are without a flaw, black suit, white shirt, black tie, polished boots. He reminds you of an important Don in The Godfather. Hatskin has made his money in various things: jukeboxes, a nightclub or two, corrugated cardboard.

ED REID'S BIRDS

Hatskin doesn’t have big big money, and when he took on the Jets franchise — he’s always been sports-minded — he brought in his friend from the Winnipeg Jewish community, Dave Simkin, for 50%. (Simkin died in early December, and his share remains in his estate at this writing.) Hatskin’s brother Rubin came in for another 15%. Hatskin’s share is only 35%, but he calls the shots. The Hull caper was all his.

“I’d say Bobby has meant at least 1,500 more tickets for every game he’s played,” Hatskin says. “He’s also brought in a different class of people. At first, when the courts wouldn’t let him on the ice, we had mostly kids coming to the games. Now we got all classes. You have to remember that, in comparison to the big NHL cities, Winnipeg isn’t the richest place in the world. A hockey ticket’s a big investment for a working guy out here even if he has been dying to get pro hockey in his own city for a long, long time.”

Hatskin shaves dollars where he can. He tried to talk the provincial government out of its entertainment tax in order to hold ticket prices at five and six dollars. No dice; prices, with tax, are $5.50 for blues, $6.60 for reds. The government helped out, though, by buying 550 season tickets, which it uses, in the words of Ron Lyon of the Jets front office, “for people who normally wouldn’t see a game — unemployed fellas, people in hospital and Indians.”

Lyon also concedes that, with the Jets, “there’ve been disappointments in some areas.” For instance? “We thought the rink’d be jammed the first few times Hull played — it holds 11,300 with standing room — but the crowds were only around 7,000. We thought season tickets would move faster, but they were just at 2,000 at the beginning of the season. It’s a psychological thing — people in Winnipeg think $254 is a lot for a season ticket. But they have to realize they’re getting 39 games for that. So what we’re trying to do is build the Jets like the Saskatchewan Roughriders in football, a community thing in other words, and we’re starting to get that. There’s busloads of fans coming in from Kenora and Brandon and the Dakotas and from Thompson up north. We’re working at it.”

Or, as Ben Hatskin likes to say, “You gotta put up a front even if there’s nuthin’ in the bank.”

On the morning after the WinnipegLos Angeles game, Vincent Price, the actor, and Karen Magnussen, the skater, took the same plane from Winnipeg to Edmonton that the Jets traveled on. But the passengers in the waiting room and on the plane had eyes only for Bobby Hull. Hull gave Price a glad hand as he passed him boarding the plane, nothing condescending but it let Price know who the real celebrity was that morning.

On the bus from the Edmonton airport into the city, the driver asked Hull to arrange tickets for the night’s game between the Jets and the Alberta Oilers, “a treat for my nephews, Bob.” No problem, Hull said. He reached his room in the new and sleek Chateau Lacombe, and a line formed to interview him, an American magazine writer, an Edmonton newspaper reporter, two radio men trailing tape recorders. Hull shaped something fresh for each questioner, mini-scoops all round.

To Ken Nicolson, host of a coach’s talk show on CJOB, Winnipeg, aired before the broadcast of each Jet game: “Ken, I don’t think it’s quite fair to charge Edmonton fans WHA prices in an arena like the one they have in the city right now.”

To John Bohonos, host of a chitchat show, Johnny-On-The-Spot, on CJCA, Edmonton: “No, John, I don’t think all that money’s changed me. I never think about it except for the security for my family. The thing about moving to Winnipeg is that life goes at a slower, easier tempo than in Chicago.”

After the last tape recorder had left, Hull splashed some water on his face, loosened his tie and contemplated his role in the WHA: “The guys you deal with, the WHA owners I mean, have a different attitude than in the NHL. Talking to Ben Hatskin isn’t like talking to Sam Pollock in Montreal. Ben isn’t hard and regimented like that. In Chicago, gawd, in Chicago, they wouldn’t give you the sweat off their ass. NHL people don’t care about anything, about how they treat the players, as long as they make a lot of money. But I could have stayed with the Black Hawks and not worried about money or about missing part of the season like I’ve just done. Life would have been much simpler for me. But, hell, the WHA is something that’s been needed. It’s made room for more guys to play and make a living, and it brought entertainment to people who used to be able to only get big league hockey on TV.

“What was stupid about the NHL, looking back, is that whenever I’d go into an expansion city, the other team’d always send out some fast kid to check me all night. ‘So-and-so held Hull scoreless’ — how many times did I read that in the papers. But that’s senseless. The people who come out to the games want to see me score goals. That’s why they pay their money. Then what happens is that the other team makes sure I don’t even get a chance to score. All right, the team’s coach is paid to win games, but what’s the sense of winning if you’re gonna drive fans away and kill the franchise anyway? I hope they don’t go in for that in the WHA.”

Bill Hunter, the general manager of the Alberta Oilers, is a “hockey-holic.” The description comes from Jim Coleman, the sports columnist who spent many of his early newspaper years in Edmonton. Coleman explained what he means one evening this winter over dinner in the revolving dining room at the top of the Chateau Lacombe, Edmonton’s grandest hotel: “Bill was a top salesman on the prairies for an investment syndicate. He was making a lot of money. But he couldn’t stay away from hockey. He had to get himself involved with every team that came along. So he quit the mutuals business and a sure chance to get rich, and he went into hockey again and a lot of work that can’t bring in much. That’s a hockey-holic.” Hunter is greying and benign-looking and very industrious. He’s the man who got the Alberta franchise off the ground. He hustled the backing money, some of it from Canadian Cablesystems (who own a big chunk of Famous Players), and he signed the players. But, yes, he grants that the franchise has its problems. Yes, the arena is too small, just under 6,000 capacity. Yes, the Oil Kings junior team is tough competition because it’s firmly entrenched with Edmonton fans. And, yes, the crowds haven’t been that big so far, about 3,640 average. Still, Hunter’s full of fight and confidence. There’ll be a new arena any year now, and, no fear, the fans will come around.

Hunter was at his wheeling-dealing happiest on the afternoon of Hull’s arrival in Edmonton. He had the season’s first sellout on his hands. The phone rang. Hunter answered. Damn. The fire chief wouldn’t let him sell standingroom tickets. The phone rang again. It was Hull asking for some tickets (ah ha, the bus driver and his nephews). Hunter put the tickets in an envelope and handed it to a messenger.

“Hey,” he said to the messenger, “make sure Hull pays for these. He’s got more money than us.”

When Hull skated onto the ice in the Edmonton Gardens, he suggested the great old champion putting his flash and brilliance on display in the tank town. The arena is almost as old as the century. Horse shows used to be its main business, and its thick cold air still holds whiff's of hay and urine and horsemen’s whiskey. For hockey games, not more than half the seats offer clear views of the entire ice surface. Pillars insist on getting in the way. But on this night everyone in the Palace spotted Hull’s first step off the bench, and a great emotional roar shook the building, as if the people inside were announcing to themselves that, with Bobby Hull there, they’d joined the big leagues.

Hull drew another cheer, almost a ritual response, with his first slap shot, and at 18.45 of the opening period he spooked the Alberta goalie, Jack Norris, into the game’s first score. The Jets’ Bordeleau was ripping in on Norris from the right side, Hull from the left. Bordeleau carried the puck. Norris looked for the inevitable pass to Hull. Bordeleau shot instead: 1-0 for the Jets.

Then Alberta’s Val Fonteyne, ex-Detroit Red Wing and a tireless skater, took over for the night. He hung four or five feet off Hull’s trail through the rest of the game, checking, dogging, bugging him. The crowd held silent through much of the second period. “What the hell’s there for them to yell about?” a man said in the press box. “Hull’s not doin’ a thing.” They cheered near the end of the period when Fonteyne let a shot go from inside the Winnipeg blue line and tied the score.

Halfway through the third period, Alberta’s Jim Harrison broke away and Hull, the last man back, tripped him. Penalty. Hull went off and Alberta scored: 2-1. A few minutes later Hull zoomed a slap shot that hit Fonteyne’s leg. He limped off. But it was too late for Winnipeg, and Alberta scored at 18.57. Hull was on the ice at the time. 3-1. Game over.

A couple of dozen kids waited with their parents outside the Winnipeg dressing room. Hull gave them autographs and smiles. He patted a little girl on the head and asked if anybody still needed a scrap of paper signed. He smiled some more. But later when he heard how an announcer on CBXT-TV lead off the sportscast — “Val Fonteyne did a masterful job of holding Bobby Hull tonight as the Alberta Oilers ... ” — he said one cranky word.

“Crap,” he said.

Howard Baldwin, who is young (30), blond and otherwise looks like Robert Wagner, says the reason why the New England Whalers, of which he is president, make up the WHA’s strongest franchise is because “we were the quickest to organize, quickest to set up front office personnel, quickest to sign players.” Then, sitting confidently behind his president’s desk in the Whalers’ suite of offices in downtown Boston’s Statler Office Building, he says that there is another secret of success besides speed.

“We did one basic thing differently from the NHL,” he says. “We went out and deliberately recruited a team that has local identity. Look, our coach, Jack Kelley, is a man born in Boston who coached Boston University hockey for 10 years and finished up with back-toback NCAA championships the last two years. He’s practically a legend around here. Then we’ve got four starters who played for Jack at BU and three more players from Boston College including Tim Sheehy who was on the 1972 American Olympic team. Larry Pleau from last year’s Montreal Canadiens grew up in Lynn in the Boston suburbs. Teddie Green was with the Bruins and lives year round down here. Tom Webster and Tommy Williams, who’s another American, both used to be on the Bruins. You think the fans don't want to identify with local guys? You bet. Even I played some hockey for Jack at BU. He cut me from the freshman team.”

Boston attendance, tops in the league with almost 9,000 per game, would be even higher, according to Baldwin, if the team played all home games in the Boston Garden (capacity 15.000) instead of 25 there and 14 in the Boston Arena (capacity 6,000).

“The Arena’s got what you’d call a negative image. People think the neighborhood’s unsafe, which is too bad because we spent about $250,000 fixing the i place up. But the thing is you don’t have to sell hockey in the Boston area. It’s just like a Canadian city that way. There are rinks all over the state where young kids play the game. For the Whalers, the Arena is the only major problem at the moment. But next year we’ll be moving to the Garden for all our home games, and by 1974, ’75 at the latest, my partner and I will be building a brand new arena of our own in downtown Boston.”

Baldwin’s partner? Why, sure, he’s Robert J. Schmertz of New Jersey, millionaire builder of retirement communities (Leisure Technology Corp.), owner of the Whalers and of the Boston Celtics basketball team, bidder for a franchise in the Canadian Football League. Schmertz and his mega-bucks — they, for the Whalers, are another secret of success. Guaranteed.

Three weeks and five days after the Jets game in Edmonton, Bobby Hull was sitting early in the afternoon, a Monday, in an elegant private dining room off the mezzanine floor of the Hotel Sonesta in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Jets players had finished a team meal before the game that night against the Whalers. A hotel assistant manager arrived in the dining room, smiling, rubbing his palms. How, he wondered, was the meal, Mr. Hull?

“No hell.”

The assistant manager’s smile dropped away at the edges, the palmrubbing accelerated.

Hull: “Those eight-ounce steaks were four-ounces meat, four-ounces fat. Too, ah, petite for growing boys” — Hull took his turn at smiling — “I know you’re gonna fix that next time we come through town.”

The assistant manager retreated.

Hull looked healthy. It had something to do with the skin under his eyes, not so purple and loose as a month earlier.

“My blood count was down was what it was,” he said, fiddling with his coffee cup. “Now I’m taking iron pills. I told everybody I wouldn’t get really going until close to the New Year. It was like that the year I had to hold out in Chicago the first 14 games. Took me two months to warm up.”

At that point in the season, there in the Sonesta, Hull had visited every WHA city at least once, and, sitting over his coffee, he didn’t mind toting up the league’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Ottawa. Civil servants aren’t sports fans. The owners’ll have to find another spot for the franchise.

“Los Angeles. The fans are okay but you must have a winning team out there. LA only turns up for a winner.

“Quebec. There’s a lot of good people behind the franchise. The government’s behind it, too, and the fans know the game. Strong.

“Chicago. They’ll have to build a new arena in a well-lit area out in the suburbs. Then the fans won’t be nervous about going out at night.

“Houston. The fans need an education job on hockey, then things’ll be solid.

“Minnesota. Good franchise, even better when their new big hockey centre opens.

“Edmonton. They could do a better job. The fans could do a better job. These are Canadians who understand the game and they’ve been waiting so long for big league hockey. But they’re not backing the team and I don’t get it.

“The one sour point I’ve noticed around the league is that too many players in too many franchises aren’t selling the game. You should do everything to get people into the buildings. I told some of the young players in Houston they should go out and sign autographs in appliance stores and shopping plazas, be seen, talk to fans, talk to the kids and tell them to bring their parents to the games. You gotta work at it, but some of the guys drawing big money from this league aren’t moving their asses.”

The game that night, Jets vs. Whalers, started at 7 p.m., the only way, according to Howard Baldwin, to beat the telecasts of ABC’s Monday night football game. Baldwin was right: by 7 p.m., 9,119 people were waiting in the ancient and ramshackle Garden. New England was in first place in the WHA’s Eastern Division, Winnipeg led in the Western Division, and the game seemed to promise something special. It delivered on the promise — the hockey, especially in the third period, was superior and exciting.

In many ways, the style of play reminded you of the early days of the former American Football League before it merged, successfully, with the National League — it was full of dash and eagerness and the old college try. The Whalers didn’t put a specific man on Hull, but they gang-checked him relentlessly. Three times in the third period, Hull was crashed to the ice, once into a goal post. He didn’t score all night, though he set up one Winnipeg goal with a masterful bit of feinting and passing. New England won, 4-3. One of the Boston University grads scored the tying goal, a Boston College grad got the winner. And the fans went home happy, happy with the win, happy with the local guys’ private triumphs, happy with the bodying of Hull.

“Know what this is all about?” Hull said after the game. “Know what we’re in? What the league is?”

“What?”

“Show business.”

Then Hull packed up his gear, getting ready for the trip to, let’s see, Philadelphia next, two games with the Blazers. Taking the show on the road. ■