The Ontario Hockey League family is deeply saddened by the loss of St. Catharines Teepees graduate and NHL legend Stan Mikita who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 78.
The Chicago Blackhawks all-time leading scorer had been diagnosed with suspected Lewy body dementia in 2015, a brain disorder that can strip its victims of memory and cause hallucinations and sleep disorders.
Mikita played a prestigious 22-year NHL career between 1958 and 1980 spent in its entirety with the Blackhawks organization. The four-time Art Ross Trophy winner amassed 1,467 career points including 541 goals and 926 assists over 1,394 regular season games and won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 1961. He became the first member of the Blackhawks to have his number retired when his No. 21 sweater was raised to the rafters of the United Center in 1980.
The 5-foot-9, 170Ib. centreman was a force, combining to win each of the Art Ross, Hart and Lady Byng trophies in the same season twice, doing so in both 1967 and 1968. He was also a member of Canada’s team that competed in the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR.
Prior to his lengthy NHL career, Mikita spent three seasons with the OHA’s St. Catharines Teepees from 1956-59, earning both the Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player and the Eddie Powers Trophy as leading scorer in 1959. He registered 85 goals, 137 assists and 222 points over his three seasons in St. Catharines, helping lay the groundwork for the team to hoist the Memorial Cup a year later in 1960.
Mikita was born Stanislav Gvoth on May 20, 1940 in what was then Czechoslovakia. He was adopted by aunt and uncle Joe and Anne Mikita in 1948, moving to St. Catharines where he quickly fell in love with hockey and eventually played alongside future Blackhawks teammate Bobby Hull on the OHA’s Teepees.
Mikita was No. 3 on the NHL’s all-time scoring list when he retired following the 1979-80 season and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
On October 22, 2011, the Blackhawks unveiled statues of both Mikita and Hull outside the United Center where they stand beside one that honours Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.
Mikita was named as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players of all-time in 2017.
For more on Mikita’s life and accomplished career, visit NHL.com.