Sidney Brown covers the Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL for WARR
So, just who is Stan Mikita?
Before the fame and glory, the accolades and the remembrances, he was born Stanislav Guoth on May 20, 1940 in Vlachy, Slovakia and remained there until 1948 before moving to Ontario, Canada where he was adopted by his aunt and uncle.
Mikita’s love for hockey began when he saw a group of neighborhood kids playing street hockey. Years later, after three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, he was promoted to the Chicago Blackhawks in 1959. During the following 22 years, Mikita built an unmatched legacy in the Windy City.
Stan spent his entire 22 year NHL career in Chicago, he and teammate Bobby Hull led the Stanley Cup-winning team in 1961, which until 2010 was the only pure instance of success for the franchise in the modern era.
Along with being great players, Mikita and Hull blazed trails, becoming the first players in the league to use curved sticks, which gave a advantage to shooters against the goalies. The NHL limited blade curvature to 1/2 inch in 1970. Stan also effected the status quo of hockey by being one of the first players to wear a helmet full time after taking a vicious shot which cut off part of his ear during a game in December of 1967.
Here’s a list of his individual accomplishments making one of the game’s greatest players:
Art Ross Trophy (Leading Scorer)
1964, 1965, 1967, 1968
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Sportsmanship)
Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP)
9 time NHL All Star
1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975
Did You Know?
Stan Mikita is the only player in NHL history to win the Hart, Art Ross and Lady Byng trophies in the same season and he did so in consecutive seasons (1966-67, 1967-68).
Life After The Hawks
After retiring in 1980, Mikita continued to make a difference in the community. The first plant of Mikita’s philanthropy was seeded during his playing days in 1973 when he teamed up with businessman Irv Tiahnybik to form the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association, bringing together deaf players from across the country while also helping with the development of the Special Olympics in Chicago.
Stan also has a lasting pop culture influence due to his being referenced in the motion picture Wayne’s World in 1991 which featured a doughnut shop named after the legend that playfully spoofed the Canadian doughnut shop Tim Hortons.
Mikita’s mentioning in the classic comedy made him a pop culture phenomenon creating fans for a whole new generation and even led to an actual Stan Mikita’s Donuts (for a limited time). Hawks president John McDonough and owner Rocky Wirtz made it a point to bring Stan back into the organization as one of its ambassadors in 2009, he and Hull were each honored with statues at the United Center, Mikita’s sitting outside of the media entrance, Gate 3 1/2.
Mikita Visitation at United Center Sunday (670 The Score)
Mikita’s health took a turn for the worse in 2011 being diagnosed with oral cancer and it got worse when dementia entered the equation in 2015 with dementia. Not surprisingly, Stan fought a good fight before passing away on August 7th at the age of 78.
Stan Mikita’s legacy, besides the ton he accomplished on the ice, is made special by the work he did off the ice because of his giving heart and his being a gentleman to his teammates and fans. There have been other great Hawks players that have made an impact on the city of Chicago like Bobby Hull, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane among others, but the original template was for endearing Chicago hockey fans was created by Stan Mikita.
To Mr. Mikita, THANK YOU for what you did to impact the hockey world at large, the city of Chicago and generations of fans, including myself who never saw you play live but followed you faithfully. You will never be forgotten and your blueprint will last a lifetime.
Career Totals (Regular Season)
1,394 Games Played
Career Totals (Playoffs)
155 Games Played
6 Game Winning Goals
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