(HockeyStL) -- "I'm glad I'm back", said Brett Hull. Blues fans are happy to he's back, too. A hundred or so hardcore Blues supporters were on hand at the Scottrade Center when Hull was introduced as the team's new Vice President on the business side of the operation. They greeted him with a loud ovation when he slipped on his signature, and now retired, uniform jersey number 16.
After the passing of Stan Musial, Hull just may have ascended to the position as the most popular living ex-athlete in St. Louis. Strong arguments could be made for Ozzie Smith and Kurt Warner, but clearly Hull is in the conversation. In his new job of selling the Blues to the corporate community, Hull's massive celebrity status in St. Louis should serve him and the organization well.
"I know I'm going to hit the ground running to give back, " said Hull. "and start building new relationships and solidifying old ones. But before I can do that, Bruce (Affleck) has told me I have to sell the last 16 suites in the building. If any of you can help me do that, let me know."
The cost for a luxury suite at Scottrade Center for Blues games starts at $100,000. Add another $75,000 for all events in the building. That might not be a huge price tag if you're selling the Rangers to a New York corporate community, or the Blackhawks in Chicago, but in St. Louis it's not such an easy sell. Blues owner Tom Stillman is banking on the idea that Hull can reach the corporate decision makers in St. Louis and close deals to produce some much needed revenue for the team. “I don’t think it’s just a matter of shaking hands,” Stillman said. “He’ll be involved in the substance of selling and showing people and companies in the market that this is an organization that you want to be associated with.”
If any sales person in town can get a corporate CEO, the managing partner of a law firm, or a wealthy independent business owner to take his cold call it would be Brett Hull. It'll be a challenge in this economy to sell out the Scottrade suites, but Hull says he'll give it his best shot. “It’s just kind of a new challenge,” he said. “I’ve been a player, I’ve been a GM, been an assistant to hockey operations and this is just something new. I guess my personality, I think it’s good to interact with the fans, the sponsors, with season-ticket holders and with the community in general. I’m going to put my best foot forward to do that.”
In his new job, Hull will spend a lot of time near the ice where he carved out a hall of fame career. I asked him, at age 49, if he missed being a player. "No, I was pretty lucky. When I retired I had accomplished pretty much everything," Hull said. "There were no more goals to reach. I couldn't catch anyone in goals or points. I had won Stanley Cups. It was just time for me to walk away."
And now it's time for Hull to work his magic and score a few deal closing goals for the Blues bank account.