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21 (and more) feats that defined Mikita's career

Friday, 05.20.2011 / 1:00 AM / Features
By Brad Boron  - chicagoblackhawks.com

On May 20, 1940, Stanislaus Guoth was born in Sokolce, in the Slovak Republic. The young boy learned to skate when he immigrated to St. Catharines, Ontario, where he was adopted legally by his aunt and uncle and took on their surname, Mikita. From there, Stan Mikita became one of the greatest hockey players of his generation.

Though he hasn't played an NHL game in more than 30 years, Mikita was such an accomplished player that he still holds or was involved in dozens of Blackhawks all-time records. In honor of his signature #21 sweater, here are 21 of his greatest accomplishments, all of which still remain in the franchise's record books:

(1) When Mikita made his debut with the Blackhawks in 1959, he became the first Czechoslovakian-born player ever to play in the National Hockey League.

(2) Mikita's 22 seasons with the Blackhawks is the most in team history, and only Alex Delvecchio and Steve Yzerman played as long with a single team. Mikita also holds the Hawks' record for (3) total number of games played – 1,394 – and (4) most playoff games played – 155.

Not only did Mikita set the bar in Chicago Blackhawks history for longevity, but he did it for scoring as well: (5) his 1,467 regular-season points still stand as the team record, as do his (6) 926 regular-season assists.

(7) Mikita led the Blackhawks in regular-season scoring a team-record eight times. (8) He won the Art Ross Trophy, given to the league's top scorer, four times, also a Blackhawks record. In fact, Mikita's four Art Ross wins place him behind only Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Phil Esposito for most in the trophy's 63-year history.

Stan Mikita with the Hart, Art Ross and Lady Byng Trophies.
Mikita was twice named NHL MVP (1967, 1968), and (9) is the only player in NHL history to win the Hart (MVP), Art Ross (points leader) and Lady Byng (sportsmanship) trophies in the same season (both 1967 and 1968).

(10) Mikita holds the Blackhawks' record for consecutive 20-goal seasons – 14 – and is (11) the only center in franchise history to be named an NHL First-Team All-Star multiple times (1962, '63, '64, '66, '67, '68).

(12) Though his name doesn't appear on the record, Mikita was a member of the 1966-67 Blackhawks team that holds the mark for longest unbeaten streak in franchise history, going 12-0-3 between Jan. 14-Feb. 16, 1967.

Like all great players, Mikita's impact may be best measured in the postseason, where (13) Mikita's 150 playoff points and (14) 91 playoff assists remain franchise marks.

His 5 assists in one playoff game on April 4, 1973 vs. St. Louis set the team record for both (15) assists and (16) points in one playoff game. It was this same postseason where he became part of another Hawks record, (17) when he and Bill White each scored a shorthanded goal in a single playoff game, the most shorties the team ever scored in one postseason contest.

But perhaps his best postseason as a Blackhawk was the 1962 playoffs. Stosh holds the record for (18) most points and (19) assists in one quarterfinal or semifinal series, when he tallied 10 assists and 13 points as the Hawks beat the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Semifinals, 4-2. He later (20) set the franchise record for consecutive playoff games scoring a point – 13 – in the 1962 Cup final against Toronto, a streak which ran from April 14, 1961 through April 19, 1962.

With all of these achievements, it's easy to see why Mikita's #21 was (21) the first number retired by the Blackhawks organization, on Oct. 19, 1980.