Happy Birthday, Stan Mikita

May 20th would have been Stan Mikita’s 81st birthday. In honor of the late, great “Stosh,” 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 1,192 games. Patrick Kane has dressed for 1,029 games.

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. Only one active player – Joe Thornton (1,529) – has more career points than Mikita. Sidney Crosby has 1,325 points for only the Penguins in his career. 

Perspective: the current roster leader in career regular season points with the Hawks, Patrick Kane, has posted 1,088 points (404 goals, 684 assists). 

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

38 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Stan Mikita

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

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

  8. 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???

  9. 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.

  10. Cheers Stosh.

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. goldenbladz

    you don’t remember larmer missing many games because he didn’t miss one with the hawks. EVER!!! first full season 82-83. ten straight years of 80 games played and 84 games in his eleventh year with the hawks.

    then traded after the season began in 93-94, which broke his consecutive games played streak. vindictive piece of garbage wirtz wouldn’t pay him and delayed trading him until after the season started so his consecutive games played streak would be broken.

    a disgrace that his sweater is not in the rafters and not in the hof because the wirtzes did not champion his cause. the hof shoo-in patrick kane scoring at 1.057 points per game. larmer scored at 1.036 as a hawk and 1.006 for his career. larmer +181 for his career. kane +62.

    a player whose guts, toughness, and effort greatly outweighed his skills, which were substantial. the blackhawks first “hossa” type player.

  19. Warmly think of my room as a kid and my Stan Mikita, Sports Illustrated poster on the wall along with Bobby Orr and Johnny Bench.

  20. Well that was weird. I started reading the comments and saw a post from me that I didn’t make and my first thought was it that goof that would impersonate posters from a couple years ago was back. But then I saw the date on the post was from 2014.

    As for my comment from 7 years ago – I would make the same comment today – Stosh was a helluva guy.

  21. Reading back through the comments from 2014 – I miss a lot of very good posters that are not posting here anymore. Miss those guys. It’s a shame they’re not here anymore.

  22. Larmer-Savard-Secord …..OMB ….that was the Trio
    Secord Gad more then 50 goals …that line was oufff.
    Like when Mikita was with Hull and a few guys.
    Mikita was a player that all the team wish to have at the time ..
    Great player.

  23. Raptor
    Yes …me too I was thinking the same thing a few months ago…. maybe a few of them broke their pipe ….or just decide to stop because bored. Or ? ?
    I remember vey good time and winning Cups….

  24. I finally had the chance to meet and thank Stan Mikita for inspiring me to play hockey when I was a kid and to tell him how he impacted my life in a positive way. I told him that because him, I was either playing hockey or working to pay for my hockey (had to pay all of it myself) while my friends were getting arrested, throw out of high school or all kinds of other trouble.

    Several years ago I made a ‘Clarence Rule’ – named after the angel 2nd class in It’s a Wonderful Life – so that I would tell people how much they may have helped me and to thank them (Doc Emerick does a similar thing). Stan Mikita was at the top of my list.

    I came up with the idea while at a funeral and listened to everyone talk about what a great guy the deceased was and what he meant to them. And I wondered if they told him that when he was alive. Probably not. Hence the Clarence Rule.

    So, just before Stan went into oblivion with dementia I got to play a round of golf with him at Robbie Gould’s charity event at Conway Farms – I believe there was Devine intervention. He had all his mental faculties and there was no sign that in 6 months he would go off the deep end. He was just as great of a person as he was a hockey player.

    I am so happy I was able to spend some time with him and most of all, say ‘thank you’.

    Please make your own Clarence list and get after it! The clock is ticking.

  25. Nice article and posts about one of the alltime greats for sure and maybe greatest Blackhawk of all.

  26. Who is John Galt? – You’re the only reason I come to this site anymore. Happy you had the chance to spend time with your hockey hero.

  27. Nice re-post. Guys like Stosh should never be forgotten. Such a class act as a human being and a phenomenal hockey player. Hard to believe Hawks had Stan AND Bobby . Amazing to watch those guys growing up as a kid, especially at the Stadium. People really dressed up back then. Guys in suit and tie and the ladies done up with those beehive hair styles and fancy dresses. Cigars and cigarettes. This Mikita post was from back in 2014, the playoffs that put a dagger into us Hawks fans with that key game loss to LA in OT that should have been a Hawks win snd a trip to the finals. Hawks had multiple quality chances but couldn’t bury the winner or get a bounce. That left me crushed for months simply because we all knew the winner of the Hawks Kings series was likely to hoist the Cup. Simply devastating for me that entire summer.

    Thanks for the memories Stanley, and to all posting here from back then and now.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  28. My wife was always a Mikita fan. I surprised her and had Stan caller her during our wedding rehearsal dinner back in August 26, 1977.

    I was up in Toronto for a business meering and started talking hockey to a native Torontoian and told him about Stan calling my wife. He said his dad was a Stan Mikita fan. He said his mother had a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary on her bedroom dresser and his dad had picture of Stan on his.

  29. I was 12 y/o and my brother-in-law was taking me to my first game at the old Chicago Stadium. His friend had the tickets and was supposed to meet us at old Gate 2 1/2. My brother went around the corner to look for him. A limo pulled up and out steps Stan Mikita. I was frozen, probably with my mouth open. He said “Hey kid, have are you here for the game?” I just said “Yes sir.” He smiled, ruffled my hair and said “Let’s hope for a win, right?” He then stepped inside the door. My brother came around the corner and missed the whole thing. My brush with true greatness.

  30. phil

    thanks for rehashing the worst sports memory of my 72 years. which, of course, brings me to the 71 cup final, which was the second worst memory. 14 worse because i was at the game. the ride home to buffalo grove that night was torture. both games were ours for the taking and, yes, the rangers were waiting in the wings in 14 to be crushed by the winner of the hawks/kings game.

  31. Reichel with great vision to set up one goal today and a Hagelian takeaway and sweet finish to score another. He’s looking good.

  32. Watched the 3rd and both OTs of CAR NSH and I would warn Hawk fans against wanting to sign Dougie Hamilton as a UFA

    While no doubt a dynamic offensive player his defense is not good – in fact he’s seems lazy in the D zone

    I had thought this for a while but last night brought it home – after CAR took a 3-2 3rd period lead he got beat by Josi in his own zone ending with Hamilton taking a bad penalty resulting in NSH scoring on the PP to tie it then in 2OT he got wandering in the D zone puck watching leaving the slot wide open for the winning goal

    Combine this level of effort in the D zone with the price tag he’s likely to command and IMO there should be very serious questions about considering signing him (if that’s even a consideration for Stan)

    Better to either try to trade for Seth Jones or wait another year when hopefully he becomes UFA or look elsewhere for a top D man

  33. Good call out Wrap. Hamilton simply put is a flawed defensive player. Sure, he has offensive skills, but the Hawks need a really good d man on the blue line. Canes gave away 2 games to Preds, but as an outsider with no horse in the race I must say the 2 OT games were very entertaining to watch. Is it just me or has Pierre become even more aggravating with his comments than normal? Yikes he has been really grating this past week to my ears….I’m pulling for the Avs to go deep. Apart from the Kadri debacle there is much like about this Avs squad.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  34. Nice job Wrap and Phil (sarcasm)!

    Now Bowman is certain to go after him. Hamilton fits his ideal player profile. Besides, he might be on the clearance rack after the playoffs, and we all know how much Bowman loves a good fire sale.

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