Bobby Hull and the Curved Stick Controversy...Please read for details (Now in Stories!

Uploaded 17 Jan 2013 — 23 favorites
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© James Wiley
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

While playing with Chicago both Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita started experimenting with curved sticks. They had the manufacturer create an extreme curve which they found made their slapshots do strange things. Sort of like a knuckleball in baseball I guess, but much faster. Already having the hardest slapshot in hockey, Hull's stick now made it also the most unpredictable for both him and the goalie. The NHL eventually limited the degree of curve a stick could have. Shot for Canadian Press.
Here, Hull celebrates a goal, perfectly showing how extreme the curvature was.
In my 'Sports and Action' collection

In the NHL: Game On! photo essay.

27 responses

  • Carlo Pagan

    Carlo Pagan gave props (17 Jan 2013):


  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey gave props (17 Jan 2013):

    You have captured the feeling of a celebratory moment with this so much detail and emotion! Oh, hockey!!!

  • JamesHarmon McQuilkin

    JamesHarmon McQuilkin   gave props (17 Jan 2013):

    fab capture--I had long since forgot about curved sticks

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (17 Jan 2013):

    You caught the enthusiasm of the player plus the rapt attention of the crowd....Well done!

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins (Deleted) gave props (17 Jan 2013):

    The curvature of the stick shows up well .I love the angle of his body and the pointed toe. Nice going James!

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece   gave props (17 Jan 2013):

    Excellent action shot and narrative on the curved stick.

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (17 Jan 2013):

    Wonderful shot!

  • Andrew Dutton

    Andrew Dutton (Deleted) gave props (18 Jan 2013):

    Great photo, it captures the spirit of the game....gets my vote

  • rekha nag

    rekha nag gave props (18 Jan 2013):

    fantastic capture!! my vote too.

  • Jyri Vissak

    Jyri Vissak gave props (18 Jan 2013):

    Cool find! Well done.

  • chuck vona

    chuck vona gave props (18 Jan 2013):

    Great shot, thanks for the history lesson.

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (18 Jan 2013):

    I remember Bobby Hull from my Canadian days!

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (18 Jan 2013):

    Wow, Bobby Hull, unbelievable, great shot of course too !

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield gave props (19 Jan 2013):

    Fantastic capture of the legend in action! I did not know about the stick/curve!

  • Bailey Cooper

    Bailey Cooper gave props (19 Jan 2013):

    Amazing shot of the Golden Jet. He was flat out gorgeous.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (20 Jan 2013):

    And the FabulouSeries! rocks on...

  • Heather Mellon

    Heather Mellon gave props (20 Jan 2013):

    The best of the best!! He was always my favorite player and always will be. A super capture of a super guy!

  • Jason Platt

    Jason Platt gave props (21 Jan 2013):

    damn your collection of historic shots is awe inspiring!

  • Kevin Kott

    Kevin Kott (Deleted) gave props (21 Jan 2013):

    Great player!!! Great shot!!!! and 2 minutes for that curve on his stick!!!! But honestly, how cool that was back in the days!!!!! I had one of those sticks

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley said (21 Jan 2013):

    Actually Kevin, there was no two minute penalty for the curve at that time. It was not against the rules. Who would have ever thought that players would curve their sticks, so nothing in the rule books until The NHL decided to limit the amount of curve allowed. After the rule, I can still remember the officials taking a time out to measure the curve on someone's stick but when this was taken, Hull's stick was perfectly legal.

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (22 Jan 2013):

    That's some curve. You truly captured the emotion of the moment. Outstanding work, James.

  • Ted Anderson

    Ted Anderson (Deleted) gave props (23 Jan 2013):

    Another great hockey shot, James. A bit of the Robert Redford look on Bobby.

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (24 Jan 2013):

    impressive shot!

  • Nancy Richard

    Nancy Richard gave props (29 Jan 2013):

    Bet you could give some great pointers on sports photography (besides a fast shutter speed) !!!

  • Chris Whitney

    Chris Whitney said (31 Jan 2013):

    Great story to go with the photo.

  • Brian Carson

    Brian Carson said (2 Feb 2013):

    The greatness of this era in the NHL (Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Ken Dryden, Paul Henderson, etc etc & etc) will unfortunately never happen again in hockey and probably will never be matched in any sport. Though I was quite young, I have many fond memories of going to MLG on a Wed or Sat night with my Dad and seeing many of them play.

  • Brian Carson

    Brian Carson gave props (2 Feb 2013):

    Thank you for the memories James.

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