The Chicago Blackhawks are saving the best for last.
The Blackhawks will honor legendary forward Stan Mikita with “One More Shift” on Friday, prior to the team’s home finale against Central Division rival St. Louis Blues at the United Center, the Hawks announced Monday. He’ll be the fifth and final former Hawk to be honored this season after Bryan Bickell, Al Secord, Eric Daze and Troy Murray.
The 77-year-old Mikita’s No. 21 was the first number to be retired in franchise history after an illustrious 22-year career. Mikita is the franchise leader in games played (1,396), assists (926) and points (1,467). He was an eight-time All-Star, two-time Hart Trophy winner and member of the Hawks’ 1961 Stanley Cup championship team. He also is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 1983 class and has a bronze statue next to one of teammate Bobby Hull outside the United Center.
Unlike previous “One More Shift” programs this season, Mikita will not skate a lap around the ice prior to the national anthem. He will be represented by his three grandsons — Charlie, Billy and Tommy.
Stan Mikita’s family announced in 2015 that the hockey legend is suffering from Lewy body dementia. Lewy body dementia is a “type of progressive dementia. Symptoms include hallucinations and varied levels of alertness.”
Prior to his diagnosis, Mikita served as an official ambassador for the Hawks since March 2008.