We have some incredibly sad news to report today.
According to an official announcement from the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita has passed away after a long battle with a disease known as Lewy body dementia. The disease had completely robbed Mikita of any memory of the incredible life that he lived but those closest to him took comfort in the fact that he remained in the care of his wife, Jill Mikita, until his passing.
The Mikita family has released the following statement:
"With great sorrow, the Mikita family announces that Stan passed away on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at the age of 78. He was surrounded by his loving family whom he fiercely loved. Details of planned services will be released when they become available. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time."
Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz has also released a statement of his own:
"There are no words to describe our sadness over Stan's passing. He meant so much to the Chicago Blackhawks, to the game of hockey, and to all of Chicago. He left an imprint that will forever be etched in the hearts of fans - past, present and future. Stan made everyone he touched a better person. My wife Marilyn and I, joined by the entire Wirtz family, extend our prayers and thoughts to Jill and the Mikita family. 'Stosh' will be deeply missed, but never, ever forgotten."
Chicago Blackhawks team president John McDonough released the following statement as well:
"Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks. His excellence is illustrated by the team records he still holds today. His passion for the game was proved by the longevity of his playing career. The impact he had on the franchise is proved by fact that Blackhawks fans still wear his jersey to the United Center. On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and our fans, we express our deepest condolences to the Mikita family and all who mourn Stan's passing."
Mikita is widely recognized as the greatest player to have ever worn a Chicago Blackhawks uniform and that is quite the statement when you consider some of the players that team has boasted in the past few years. In spite of the fact that incredible players like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have played for the organization in recent years Mikita remains the all time Blackhawks leader in points with 1,467 and the all time leader in games played with 1, 394 career games. Additionally in spite of the fact that his career spanned over 22 years in the National Hockey League Mikita nonetheless spent all of it as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, earning lifelong loyalty from the Chicago faithful for his own loyalty as well as for his tremendous skill.
Mikita was also crowned a Stanley Cup Champion as part of the 1961 Chicago Blackhawks Although his best years would arguably come later in 1964, 1965, 1967 and 1968 when he would lead the league in goals in each of those seasons, capturing 4 Art Ross Trophies in the process.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Blackhawks fan base and the Mikita family.
Photo Credit: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Zuma