Blackhawks Legend Stan Mikita Dies At 78 After Long Battle With Dementia; Mike Meyers & Other Celebs Pay Tribute
Stan Mikita, a Chicago Blackhawks legend, died at age 78 on Tuesday following a long battle with dementia.
“There are no words to describe our sadness over Stan’s passing,” the Blackhawks said in a statement shared by the Chicago Tribune. “He meant so much to the Chicago Blackhawks, to the game of hockey and to all of Chicago.”
Mikita’s family announced in 2015 that he had been diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies. He played as a centre for the Blackhawks for his entire professional career, from 1958 to 1980. He was considered one of the most prolific centres of the NHL during the 1960s. Mikita finished his career with 1,467 points and 926 assists.
Mikita — who last year was added to the list of 100 Greatest NHL Players — scored 541 goals for Chicago, the second most after Bobby Hull’s 604. The pair of players helped lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup title in 1961. Mikita also propelled the franchise to eight division championships.
“Stan Mikita lived a remarkable life and was a wonderful man, respected and revered by so many,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “One of the greatest players in NHL history and a Chicago icon, he was a pioneer of the game in so many ways.”
The Blackhawks great, who wore the No. 21 jersey for the team, is survived by his wife Jill and four children.
Several celebrities and people from around the NHL paid tribute to Mikita on social media. One of these famous individuals was Mike Myers. The Canadian actor and comedian, a longtime Toronto Maple Leafs fan, wrote Mikita into the classic 1992 comedy film Wayne’s World. Myers named the hockey star the owner of a fictional donut shop called Stan Mikita’s Donuts in Aurora, Illinois, where Myers’ character Wayne and Dana Carvey‘s character Garth would often spend time. Mikita also had a cameo in the movie.
“He was a hockey legend and a gentleman. Meeting him was one of the highlights,” Myers told USA Today.
“I was humbled in his presence. I didn’t know what to say, because I get very star-struck around hockey players. It was just a fantastic experience,” Myers told Sports Illustrated in 2017.
In 2011, a statue to Mikita — and also one to Hull — was built outside the Blackhawks’ United Center in Chicago.
Here are some tributes to Mikita:
“When I first got to Chicago, he regularly stopped in the coaches’ office to talk hockey and share his thoughts with me. His warm welcome is something I’ll never forget…” –Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville#ForeverABlackhawk pic.twitter.com/q7e6ziH0wX
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) August 8, 2018
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) August 7, 2018
Playing for the Blackhawks means the world to young players because we get to follow the greats like Stan Mikita. What he brought to the game will never be forgotten.
— Jonathan Toews (@JonathanToews) August 7, 2018
My condolences to the Mikita family. Stan was first class on and off the ice. The game will miss him and so will I. RIP. https://t.co/rAASL3FAVY
— Patrick Kane (@88PKane) August 7, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are towards Stan Mikita and his family. He is the definition of an @NHL legend. He will always be remembered. Thanks for having such a big impact on my life! RIP Stan❤️ #StanMikita
— Jeremy Roenick (@Jeremy_Roenick) August 7, 2018
The White Sox join Chicago fans everywhere in sending our thoughts and deepest condolences to the Mikita family and the Blackhawks organization on the passing of Stan Mikita. pic.twitter.com/S4gNz6N5i5
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 7, 2018
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 7, 2018
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) August 8, 2018
— Ryan Baker (@RyanBakerMedia) August 7, 2018