The Chicago Blackhawks have had a lot of great players in their franchise history, but really only a few ever got to hoist the Stanley Cup and today’s Hawk is one of those few.
Pilote began his career with the Chicago Blackhawks in the mid-50’s which were about as dark of an age of Blackhawks hockey as the early 2000’s were.
PIlote is only one of three defenseman to ever win the Norris Trophy 3 straight seasons something Bobby Orr or Ray Bourque never accomplished. It’s not like Pilote was overly gifted with size or speed, he was only 5 foot 10 inches but he worked tirelessly to become the best defenseman in the NHL.
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Pilote not only won 3 straight Norris Trophies, but he finished 2nd on three other occasions. He never scored a lot of goals, but he’s only one of 8 players in franchise history to tally 400 or more assists in his career.
The signature season for Pilote and the Chicago Blackhawks of course was 1961 when a team that was full of youth and after years of terrible seasons put it all together to win the Stanley Cup. This shouldn’t have been their only Cup of that era, but it was a great season and a Championship which can never be changed.
After the 1961 season, in a surprising move, the Chicago Blackhawks traded away their captain Ed Litzenberger, and after that move the Hawks named Pilote the Captain of the Hawks until he retired in 1969. He’s the 2nd longest serving Captain in franchise history only trailing Jonathan Toews who passed him last season.
Pilote was a hard hitting defenseman and his number is up in the rafters retired with Keith Magnuson.
Sadly, as most of you know PIlote recently passed away, but his greatness will always be remembered in the annals of Chicago Blackhawks history.
Only 11 more days until the puck is dropped at the United Center!