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Chicago Blackhawks Tribute: Keith Magnuson

By Josh Brink
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Keith Magnuson (Credit Via Gamewornauctions.com)

He did not only contribute on the ice, he also contributed back to the community with open arms. Cliff Koroll his longtime friend wrote an article on chicagoblackhawks.com titled 85 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers: Keith Magnuson where he points out how Magnuson would never say no to a charity event, going above and beyond. He took great pride in giving back to the community as Bobby Hull and Stan Makita had passed onto them.

Upon his retirement from the NHL as a player due to nagging knee injuries in 1979, he then turned to coaching and became the Blackhawks assistant coach. By 1980 he was selected as the teams head coach and Cliff Koroll joined as the assistant but he did not have the greatest success compiling a 49-57-26 record in 132 games before retiring in 1982. His commitment to the Blackhawks continued though, with his help founding the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni Association which he then became President of until his death. Following in his best friends footsteps, Cliff Koroll has carried on Magnusson’s legacy as the current President of the association. Their 3 fold mission statement is: to provide a scholarship fund for the “most deserving” high school hockey players in Illinois, become involved in community affairs and charitable causes, and to protect and take care of their fellow alumni. To date, the association has awarded more than $1 million in college scholarships and has become the key model to other Alumni Associations throughout the league and other sports.

Prior to the Blackhawks game on November 12, 2008 the organization held a ceremony to rightfully recognize and retire the #3 jersey worn by both Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson. This goes to show the importance of those players impact to the team and fans both. Only 7 numbers have been retired in the long history of the Blackhawks so it is a great display of honor. If you would like to read more into the great life of Keith Magnuson I suggest reading “Keith Magnuson : The Inspiring Life and Times of a Beloved Blackhawk” by Dr. Doug Feldmann. This book presents extensive research and interviews conducted with Magnuson’s teammates and friends. Hope you enjoy.

Notable accomplishments:

  • 11 seasons of his NHL career with the Blackhawks
  • Held title of team captain for four seasons (1976-1980)
  • Appeared in two NHL All-Star Games
  • Set then-team record with 213 penalty minutes in his rookie season (1971-72)
  • Retired with 1,442 career penalty minutes, then a team record
  • Earned a +170 career plus/minus rating
  • Played in 68 career playoff games, drawing 164 penalty minutes
  • Set then-team record with 63 penalty minutes in one playoff year(1971)
  • Scored a career 139 points (14 goals, 125 assists) in 589 games

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