Stan Mikita embodied true hockey greatness while a member of the Chicago Blackhawks
We’ve made it to December, and Christmas is 21 days away. What better way to count down to present opening and eggnog than looking at Chicago Blackhawks greats, and not so greats, that have worn sweater numbers 25-1. This isn’t a, ‘Best Blackhawk To Wear…’ list. This is just ‘A Blackhawk That Wore/Wears…’ So if your favorite isn’t on this list, don’t come crying to me. Or do. I don’t care. Anyway, here we go …
When you think of the greatest Chicago Blackhawks of all-time, a handful of names come up such as Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito and Denis Savard, among a few others. But one name is used in every discussion: Stan Mikita.
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Mikita joined the Blackhawks in 1959 and played 21 seasons in the NHL, all with Chicago. In total, Mikita skated in 1,394 games and scored 1,467 points (541 goals, 926 assists) in his 21 years with the organization.
Additionally, Mikita played in 155 Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 150 points (59 goals, 91 assists) and winning a Stanley Cup in 1961.
To this day, Mikita still holds five franchise records for career totals in games played (1,394), assists (926), total points (1,467), even-strength goal (319) and game-winning goals (67). He also ranks second in franchise history for total goals (541) and power-play goals (127).
Impact felt off the ice as well
In addition to his franchise numbers, Mikita was named a nine-time NHL All-Star, a two-time Hart Trophy winner as league MVP and a four-time Art Ross Trophy winner for leading the league in points.
But it was Mikita’s demeanor away from the ice that made him the Blackhawks legend that he is. He always made time for the fans, making sure that every one that came up to him around town after games or at Blackhawk events after his playing career had ended, had a moment to remember.
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Also, who doesn’t love them some Stan Mikita’s Donuts? (Spoiler: Doesn’t actually exist in Aurora. Bummer.)
The Blackhawks did a tremendous job in honoring Mikita by retiring his number, and alongside Bobby Hull erected a statue of him outside the United Center, cementing his place in the history of the Chicago sports landscape.
But not everything has the happiest of endings for Mikita. In 2015, he was diagnosed with suspected dementia with Lewy bodies, a brain disorder that can strip those with it of memory and cause hallucinations, sleep disorders and often, though not in Mikita’s case, Parkinson’s disease.
Mikita’s family has adapted to the life changes and has expressed its gratitude for the love, best wishes and shared memories from the Blackhawks community.
Although his memories may be gone, Mikita will forever live on in the hearts and memories of Blackhawks fan everywhere.