Happy Birthday, Stan Mikita

In honor of May 20th being Stan Mikita’s 74th birthday, let’s take a moment to put his career – played completely in the Indian Head – into perspective.

mikita

On October 19, 1980, Mikita became the first Blackhawks player to have his number retired by the organization.

“Stosh” played 1,394 regular season games for the Blackhawks between 1958-59 and 1979-80, a number that still ranks eighth in NHL history for games played with a single organization. Of the seven players with more games played in a single sweater, four – Nicklas Lidstrom (DET), Ray Bourque (BOS), Steve Yzerman (DET) and Mike Modano (MIN/DAL) – began and finished their careers after Mikita stepped away.

Only three Red Wings – Lidstrom, Alex Delvecchio and Yzerman – have played more games while wearing only one sweater their entire career.

Perspective: the current roster leader in career regular season games played with the Hawks, Duncan Keith, has dressed for 686 games, meaning he is less than half-way to Mikita’s total. 

Mikita scored 541 goals and posted 926 assists. Only six players in NHL history have accumulated more points for one franchise than Mikita’s 1,467 for Chicago: Gordie Howe (DET), Yzerman , Mario Lemieux (PIT), Wayne Gretzky (EDM), Joe Sakic (QUE/COL) and Bourque. Of those six, only Howe, Yzerman, Lemieux and Sakic player their entire careers for one franchise.

Perspective: the current roster leader in career regular season points with the Hawks, Patrick Kane, has posted 493 points (178 goals, 315 assists). He’ll start next season only 974 points behind Mikita’s franchise mark. 

Over 19 seasons between 1959-60 and 1977-78, Mikita failed to appear in a postseason game after only one season (1968-69).

He won the Hart Trophy twice (1967, 1968).

He won the Art Ross Trophy four times (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968).

He won the Lady Byng twice (1967, 1968).

He won the Lester Patrick Trophy once (1976).

He was a nine-time All Star.

Mikita was the Blackhawks captain from 1975-77.

He took his place among the game’s immortals when he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

Mikita statue

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18 Responses to Happy Birthday, Stan Mikita

  1. Uncle Hoss says:

    He is the reason I wear number 21 in the beer league. Happy Birthday Stosh!

  2. Kubs59 says:

    I had the opportunity to loop for Mr. Mikita and Mr. Marsh ( Mush ) – both great guys, both can hit the golf ball a LOOOONG WAY. Happy Birthday Stan!

    Marian Hossa reminds me a lot of Mikita, … tireless two way player, and a real gentleman.

  3. ebonyraptor says:

    The thing about Stan that rises to the top for me is that as good as he was playing hockey, he’s an even better human being, a genuinely humble man. His sense of humor may be be equalled by some but there is none better. He epitomizes the term “ambassador of the game” by his great accomplishments and endearing personality.

    Happy birthday Stan. May you have many more.

  4. DJS says:

    Great cover photo of Stosh with Doug ‘Diesel’ Mohns and Kenny ‘Whip’ Wharram. My heroes as a kid. I wore a #21 jersey for many years – until it shrunk. Thanks!

  5. Phil says:

    Stosh by gosh! A true legend. Growing up I tried to pattern my fledgling game after his. Set up plays, good defense. While Hull was dazzling with his speed and power, Mikita beat opponents with savvy play, slick puck handling, and great feel for the game. I had an old Northland Custom Pro banana blade stick from those bygone years that was insane to try and play with. Slap shots though were a trip when you caught one with that stick. My God goalies with no masks facing shots off those things was flat out crazy.

    Happy Birthday to a class act, Stan,

    and

    Lets Go Hawks!

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    Mikita wasn’t just a great Hawk, he’s a hockey Legend. Mikita is a name that means so many things and all of them positive. One hell of a player and could of had more points had he benefited from better teams late in his career!

    Happy BDay Stan and tons more!!!

  7. Sr. Brad says:

    Kubs, great call on the Mikita/Hoss link…I was wondering where I had seen Hossa before…and Saad is the 3rd generation.

  8. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Kubs & Brad linking Mikita to Hossa… let’s not leave Larmer out of that mix.

  9. Sr. Brad says:

    LOVE Steve Larmer…one of my all time favourite Hawks…he did EVERTHING in such a professional manner and was an absolute sniper. One of the best Hawks of all time and should be in the HOF.

    How much would Larmer demand on the open market now if he were playing in this decade???

  10. Tab Bamford says:

    Larmer is a $7M+ per player in today’s NHL. Easy. The fact that the Hawks have Hossa and Keith locked up with the cap numbers they have (wink wink) is filthy.

  11. morrison says:

    Cheers Stosh.

    Hoss & Dunks at 5.5ish, Oh yeah… Doo bow bow, chick chicka chicka.

  12. Goldenbladz says:

    Larmer and Savard were so awesome and I don’t remember Larmer ever missing too many games. What an iron man. I am too young to have seen Stan but my dad would tell me lots of stories about him and Bobby.

  13. RedTopParking says:

    Tab: Thank You! for honoring Stan and reminding us about his birthday. Stan Mikita is the reason I am a life-long Blackhawks fan. Though I never missed a Lloyd Pettit telecast either on radio (from 1800 W. Madison) or on t.v. (only the road games back then) and Bobby Hull was and will always be very important to me, Stan was really the guy. If you guys can tolerate a story….My uncle was a young doctor living in Elmhurst and was also a season ticket holder. He gradually became one of a small group of doctors the team informally relied on in those days, one thing led to another and my uncle formed some special friendships with people in the Blackhawks organization, two of whom were Stan and Pit Martin. Perhaps my best memory as a 10 year old was the time we visited my uncle’s home in the summertime and my aunt told me to go on into uncle’s den. Sitting there were Stan and Kenny Wharram. Stosh had a grand off-season mustache, too! God, the memories…the reason I have “RedTopParking” as handle is because when my uncle would take me to games, we’d park in the Red Top Parking Lot (the very ground the UC sits on today). He was a doctor on early call, so we’d usually leave a few minutes early and the thing I remember so well is the guys working the Red Top lot would have the engine running, heater on, and the game on the radio soon as you got to the car. What a great SI cover that is from ’67, too. The Scooter Line!

    Re Phil: Yeah, the banana blades used by Bobby and Stan were in fearsome use in that ’67 season. Talk about brave goalies…though no longer mask-less at the time, Terry Sawchuk (then with the Maple Leafs) was the reason the favored Hawks made an early and unexpected exit from the SC playoffs that year. The banana blade made for very hard, rising slapshots (especially from Hull). Sawchuk absorbed a lot of them wearing primitive gear. In the elimination game (15 April 1967, at the Stadium) Sawchuk faced 49 Blackhawk’s SOG (yeah, 49), stopping 47, many of ‘em banana blasts, en route to the series upset and Toronto’s last Cup in the swan-song season of the original six. If you like hockey books, you must get “Night Work – The Sawchuk Poems” by Randall Maggs, a better writer than a hockey player, and also brother of former Hawk Darryl Maggs.

  14. Mining Man says:

    1956-1957…and a bit beyond ….I would take the train from the station in Burlington Saturday afternoons, for the fifteen minute trip with a group of buddies to watch the Hamilton Red Wings Hockey games in the old “Barton Barn”, a 10 minute walk from the station. The OHL was rich with future NHL talent but I didnt know that. We were all Red Wing fans until I saw those Indian Head St. Catherine Teepees. Oh wow. Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull were my BIG time heros/role models. You could even talk to the players back then ( a wee bit anyway ) and I remember to this day when Stan rubbed my head with his glove coming off the ice and saying ” Hey Kid” or something to that effect. Not many fans cheering for the TeePees ( I called them the Blackhawks). Those were some days. Stan and Bobby would have been around 17-19 in those years and myself 9-11. Been a 100% hardcore Commited Indian Blackhawk full blown nutbar since. (Montreal Jr. Canadiens and Toronto Marlies were the powerhouse teams)…great players …great memories. Had no idea how lucky I was but I knew it was all too special. Happy birthday Stan and many more, got to see you twice in the old stadium in Chicago. Thanks for making me a fan and for the incredible memories.

  15. RedTopParking says:

    Love that story, MM! What I wouldn’t give to have seen Hull and Mikita as teens on the St. Catherine Teepees.

  16. Jax says:

    Happy birthday to #21, and many more. No doubt one of the greatest hockey players of all time and a even greater human being. If you want to see another picture of Stan just look in the Webster’s dictionary under class. Thank you very much Tab for a great read. This is why I think this is by far the best site dedicated to the Hawks I have found.

  17. RyanDale says:

    I remember it like yesterday, my Dad got to go to the game in 74 when the had Stosh Night at the Stadium. He brought me back a couple things that were commemorating the celebration. I couldn’t stop looking at them. Stan was like a God. Black Hawk for life.
    Because his career was so long, he has a unique place in history with so many fans of different generations. Happy B-day Stanley and thank you, and Happy 19th to my youngest Blackhawk for life, Carson. Love you son! Go Hawks!

  18. Phil says:

    Great posts guys. You almost made a grown man cry. RTP, I will check out the book you recommended. I just did a re-read of Ken Dryden’s The Game, which is a classic. Red Top Parking is now about $25. Used to $5, but then again so were my second balcony tickets at the Stadium 35 years ago. A beautiful day here in Chicago. Hope the heat doesn’t mush up the ice…

    Let’s Go Hawks!

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