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Hull Makes Controversial Comments

August 26, 1998 GMT

TORONTO (AP) _ Hockey legend Bobby Hull has given a prominent Russian newspaper an interview in which he reportedly declared that the Nazis were not without merit.

``Hitler, for example, had some good ideas. He just went a little bit too far,″ Hull told the Moscow Times in a story reported by the Toronto Sun in its Wednesday edition.

The Times is a respected English-language daily read by the city’s foreign community and many of Russia’s leading politicians, academics and businessmen.

The former Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets star also reportedly told the newspaper that the black population of the United States was growing too quickly, that the Canadian government was too left wing and that genetic breeding was a worthy idea.

When the Times asked if it would be fair to describe him as a racist, Hull reportedly replied: ``I don’t give a damn. I’m not running for any political office.″

Hull gave the interview last week while in Russia as a guest of the organizers of the annual Spartak summer hockey tournament, which this year honored Vyacheslav Fetisov, the Russian hockey great who announced his retirement from the Stanley Cup-champion Detroit Red Wings several weeks ago.

Hull scored 610 goals during 16 NHL seasons and twice won the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.

Hull also touched on his relationship with his son, Brett, who recently signed a free-agent contract with the Dallas Stars. It’s been said the relationship has been strained for years. But Hull said they were close.

``He is a very loyal kid,″ Hull reportedly said of Brett. ``Maybe he is not as strong mentally as I was and can’t always follow through on his decisions.″

It was Hull’s first visit to the former Soviet Union since 1976, when the Jets, then in the World Hockey Association, played in the Izvestia Cup tournament. He also played for the WHA version of Team Canada when it visited Russia in 1974.

Hull told the Moscow Times that the ``biggest disappointment of his life″ was not being allowed to play in the 1972 Canada-Soviet series, which only used NHL players.

``I wanted to play more than anything else. But those big NHL heads decided to pay me back″ for signing with the WHA, he said.

The lengthy report on Hull’s visit appeared beside a photograph of him and Russian hockey player Alexander Yakushev.

Hull, who grew up on a farm near Belleville and still breeds cattle, toured a collective farm in Russia and visited St. Petersburg.

``I played the way I live _ straightforward,″ Hull said in the interview. ``I have no regrets about anything I did in life.″

However, if he had to do it all again, he reportedly laughed and said, ``Maybe I’d drink a bit more.″