Chicago Blackhawks: 3 memorable Stan Mikita moments

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks Stan Mikita
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

First jersey retired in Blackhawks history

Mikita retired during the 1979-1980 season after 17 games because of a back injury. Mikita suffered the injury in the 1968-1969 season, and endured it for 10 years before the pain became too much. Just one season after his retirement, the Blackhawks made Mikita the first player in franchise history to have his jersey retired.

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Mikita’s jersey went into the rafters before the sixth game of the Blackhawks’ 1980-1981 season. While other legends like Hull, Tony Esposito, Denis Savard, and Glenn Hall have all had their numbers join Mikita’s in retirement, it is a special honor to be the first retired number in the history of such a storied franchise.

Mikita stayed busy after retirement, taking up golf and becoming the top pro at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Long Grove. He also started Mikita Enterprises, which focuses on making packaging for different food companies. The company still operates and is run by two of Mikita’s children.

Mikita was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2015. This brutal disease took most of Mikita’s hockey memories away from him and he wasn’t able to attend team functions or the NHL’s 100 Greatest Player Ceremony in 2017. While it was a tough fight for the legendary Blackhawks center, his tenacity and accomplishments on and off the ice will never be forgotten.

There will be a public ceremony to remember Mikita hosted by the Blackhawks and the Mikita family on Sunday, August 12th. The ceremony will take place at the United Center Atrium from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.