One of the all-time greats in Chicago Blackhawks history has died today, as legendary forward Stan Mikita passed away at age 78
The Chicago Blackhawks organization suffered a terrible loss today, as legendary forward Stan Mikita died at the age of 78. The Blackhawks released a statement on Mikita’s passing less than an hour ago.
First, from the family of Mikita:
"“With great sorrow, the Mikita family announces that Stan passed away on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at the age of 78. He was surrounded by his loving family whom he fiercely loved. Details of planned services will be released when they become available. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”"
From Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz:
"“There are no words to describe our sadness over Stan’s passing. He meant so much to the Chicago Blackhawks, to the game of hockey, and to all of Chicago. He left an imprint that will forever be etched in the hearts of fans – past, present and future. Stan made everyone he touched a better person. My wife Marilyn and I, joined by the entire Wirtz family, extend our prayers and thoughts to Jill and the Mikita family. ‘Stosh’ will be deeply missed, but never, ever forgotten.”"
And, lastly, from Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough:
"“Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks. His excellence is illustrated by the team records he still holds today. His passion for the game was proved by the longevity of his playing career. The impact he had on the franchise is proved by fact that Blackhawks fans still wear his jersey to the United Center. On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and our fans, we express our deepest condolences to the Mikita family and all who mourn Stan’s passing.”"
Unfortunately, Mikita’s passing is not surprising news. His deteriorating health was a frequent topic of conversation the last several years, as he was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia in 2015.
The disease sapped him of many memories, on and off the ice. As the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports, Mikita’s daughter Jane described her father earlier this year as “from the neck up, completely gone, and from the neck down, he is as strong as a horse.”
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A career unlike any other
Mikita played his entire NHL tenure with the Chicago Black Hawks, from three games in the 1958-59 season to 17 in the 1979-80 campaign. He holds the franchise records for points (1,467) and games played (1,394 according to the Blackhawks; 1,396 according to Hockey Reference).
Mikita on four occasions won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading point-getter. He’s also a two-time Hart Trophy winner for league MVP and a two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner for sportsmanship.
The NHL Hall of Famer captured just one Stanley Cup victory in his lengthy career, but the fact he’s immortalized with a statue outside the United Center today tells you everything you need to know about his impact on the Blackhawks.
Mikita’s No. 21 was the first jersey retired in team history, back in 1980. The Blackhawks honored Mikita, a team ambassador well after his retirement, with One More Shift status last April. His trio of grandsons took the skate in his honor, as Mikita was not in good enough health to do so on his own.
From everyone at Blackhawk Up, we’d like to offer sincere condolences to the family and friends of Stan Mikita, and invite all Blackhawks fans to share their fondest memories of Stosh.