Stanley "Stosh" Mikita / Stanislav Guoth - Born May 20, 1940 in Sokolče, Slovak Republic – Died August 7, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois was a Slovak-born Canadian/American ice Hockey centre.
Mikita played 3 seasons of junior Hockey with St. Catharines Teepees, helping them reach the 1957 J. Ross Robertson Cup finals.
While playing for the Teepees in the 1958-59 OHA season, Mikita made his NHL debut with the Chicago Black Hawks on November 27, 1958 vs Montreal Canadiens at Chicago Stadium in a 2-1 Montreal win. He played 3 games for the Black Hawks during his call-up, picking up 1 assist and 2 penalties.
Mikita became a full time Black Hawk the next season and on NHL opening night October 7, 1959, scored his 1st NHL goal vs Gump Worsley of the New York Rangers at 1:29 of the 3rd period at Chicago Stadium in a 5-2 Chicago win. He assisted on the game winner by Bobby Hull in the 2nd period.
Mikita would play the rest of his career in a Black Hawks jersey....21 seasons.
Mikita was a force in the 1961 NHL playoffs, scoring 6 goals, 5 assists. In the finals he had 3 goals, including the game 5 winning goal, 4 assists, including a assist on the 1961 Stanley Cup winning goal in game 6. He was the 1st Slovak player to win the Stanley Cup.
Mikita then helped Chicago reach the 1962, 1965, 1971, 1973 Stanley Cup finals.
Mikita helped Chicago win their 1st Prince of Wales Trophy in 1967 as NHL regular season champions and in 1970 as NHL East Division regular season champions.
- Art Ross Trophy Winner 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968.
- Hart Memorial Trophy Winner 1967, 1968.
- Lady Byng Memorial Trophy Winner 1967, 1968.
Mikita is the only player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in the same season (1966-67) and he did it 2 years in a row (1967-68).
- Lester Patrick Trophy Winner 1976.
Mikita played in 14 NHL All-Star Games 1962-1975, being selected to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, and 1968.
An errant shot during a 1967 game tore a piece of his ear off. Because of the injury, Mikita developed his own helmet and became one of the first players in the NHL to wear a helmet full time.
Mikita was named to Team Canada for the 1972 Summit Series vs the Soviet Union, having 1 assist in 2 games played. After the Summit Series ended, Team Canada travelled to Czechoslovakia to play a game vs the Czech All-Stars in honor of Mikita on September 30th in Prague. Mikita was wearing a A on his jersey and took the opening face-off to the game, which a tired Canadian team scored with 4 seconds left to tie the game 3-3. Mikita received a cross checking penalty in the game.
The Czech team consisted of some of the nation’s greatest players ever: goalie Jiří Holeček; defenders Oldřich Machač, František Pospíšil and Jiří Bubla; forwards Jaroslav Holík, Jiří Holík, Václav Nedomanský, Vladimír Martinec, Bohuslav Šťastný and Ivan Hlinka.
Mikita scored 541 goals (84 GWG), 926 assists in 1,396 NHL regular season games and 59 goals (11 GWG / 1 OTG), 91 assists in 155 NHL playoff games. His 1,467 points and 1,396 games are both Chicago records that may never be equaled.
Mikita's number 21 was retired by the Black Hawks on October 19, 1980; being the 1st player to have his jersey number retired by Chicago.
Mikita was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
In 1998, The Hockey News ranked Mikita at 17 on the list of the 100 greatest NHL players.
Stan Mikita was inducted into the Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame / Sieň slávy slovenského hokeja in 2002.
In 2010, the Chicago Sun-Times published a list of its greatest players in franchise history. Mikita was No. 1, Hull No. 2.
In 2011, statues of Mikita and Bobby Hull were installed outside the United Center Gate 3½ in Chicago.
On January 1, 2017 Mikita was named in the 1st group (33) of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.
Bobby Hull Quote
"pound for pound, the greatest Hockey player who ever played. He was tougher than a night in jail."
The curved blade on a Hockey stick started with Mikita. During a practice, his stick got caught in the crack of the doorway by the bench. The blade bent. Rather than grab a replacement, Mikita continued to practice. When he fired a shot with that "banana", he liked what he saw. The puck moved differently and the rest is Hockey history.
Special Olympics History
Mikita was part of the very 1st Special Olympics on July 20, 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Mikita had challenged Toronto Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong to a game of Hockey during the Special Olympics. Armstrong coached the Canadian athletes, while Mikita coached the American athletes and both teams along with the games were winners.