Jody Hull is keeping an eye on Wednesday’s NHL Expansion draft, having gone through a similar experience as a player.
He was selected by the Atlanta Thrashers during their expansion draft in 1999. He was put on Philadelphia’s unprotected list following the 1998-99 season and was subsequently selected by the Thrashers.
Although he bought a house in Atlanta, his stay in the city last only six weeks before he found himself back in Philadelphia.
“As training camp went along the team decided they were going to go in a different direction and I wasn’t going to be a part of it,” says Hull. “I played one game in the minors and then was traded back to the Flyers, and then I ended up spending two more seasons in Philadelphia.”
Hull says despite being left on the unprotected list by the Flyers a year prior, he didn’t hold any resentment against the organization.
“Sometimes things don’t always go in your favour and work out the way you expect it to. It’s not the kind of business you ever want to burn a bridge. You never know down the road when some of those relationships come full circle.”
He may not have skated in a single regular season game with Atlanta, but he has his fair share of experience with expansion teams. Hull was a member of the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers during their inaugural seasons.
“I signed in Florida during the off season, I already had the experience with Ottawa so I sort of knew what to expect. We didn’t want to be the doormat of the league, we wanted to be a team that played hard every night,” says Hull. “We missed the playoffs by a single point our first two years, and then our third year we went on that wild run to the Stanley Cup Finals.”
Hull and the Panthers ended up losing the Colorado Avalanche during the 1996 final. He says he enjoyed doing his part to help grow the game he loves.
“Helping the fans understand the game and you see them start to pick up on it, you had to make sure you were out in the city and promoting the game, especially with the culture down in Miami,” says Hull. “Once we started winning we had something like 50 straight sellouts in Miami, it kind of got a bit crazy there for a while but it was exciting to see them take to the game like they did.”
Hull played 831 games in the NHL, scoring 124 goals and 261 points. He played for the Hartford Whalers, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers during his 17 year career. He joined the Peterborough Petes as an Assistant Coach in 2005, and was named Head Coach in 2012. He has held the position since, helping lead the Petes to the Eastern Conference Final last season.
The Vegas Golden Knights will fill out their roster Wednesday evening, as the expansion draft is set to go from Las Vegas. The draft is being held in conjunction with the NHL awards.