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Stan Mikita

Retired From Professional Hockey

Chronic back problems ended Mikita's career on November 30, 1979, though he did not formally retire until April 14, 1980, at the end of the season. Over the course of his career, Mikita played in 1394 regular season games, scoring 541 goals and 926 assists. He also played in 155 playoff games, with 59 goals and 91 assists. In October 1980, the team retired his No. 21 jersey, the first Black-hawks jersey to be retired. After retiring, Mikita turned to another sport, and became a golf pro at the Kemper Lakes Golf Club outside of Chicago for seven years. He also continued to work with deaf hockey players, and later founded his own business. In 1983, Mikita was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He later received an honorary doctorate from St. Catherine's Brock University.

Though Mikita was not the flashiest player, his steadfast play and loyalty to his team showed the true definition of his character. A Blackhawk to the end, Mikita contributed to the franchise's only Stanley Cup since the 1930s and lead his team by his example of tough, smart play. While goalies may not have liked seeing shots from the curved blade he helped popularize, this innovation changed the game, adding a new dimension to scoring. Mikita also brought the game to a new audience, the hearing impaired, with whom he identified after coming to Canada as a non-English speaking eight year old. Mikita's own evolution from a thug type scorer to Lady Byng winner was an example for hockey players to come. As Stan Fischler wrote in The All-New Hockey's 100, "it was hard to think of any one player who was able to combine all his skills and achieve such a level of proficiency as Mikita. He was the embodiment of the consummate hockey player."

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsHockeyStan Mikita Biography - Early Years, Introduction To Hockey, Chronology, Joined The Blackhawks, Won Stanley Cup, Used Curved Blade - SELECTED WRITINGS BY MIKITA: