Very sad news struck Chicago sports fans and the hockey community Tuesday afternoon when the passing of Stan Mikita was announced. Mikita died due to complications of dementia, he was 78 years old. He played his entire Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Blackhawks from 1958-1980 and is considered by many to be the greatest Blackhawk of all time. His 1,467 points and 1,396 games played are both the most by any player in team history.

Not only was he one of the greatest hockey players of all time, his class on and off the ice made him a popular player among many.

Mikita was elected into Hall of Fame in 1983 with his 21 being retired by the organization. They also had a statue of him erected outside the United Center. In 2017 he was placed in the Top 100 best NHL players of all time list. Mikita had spent his last years being an ambassador to the Blackhawks, a very popular move among fans. The late-legend was remembered by many fans, players, and celebrities after the announcement of his passing.

Remembering Stan Mikita

The Chicago Blackhawks immediately spread the news on social media with various posts in tribute to him. Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane took to Twitter to share their condolences, and the powerful influence he had on them. As an ambassador, he was often there for the team and players like Kane and Toews really got to know him over the years.

Blackhawks and NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk knew Mikita for many years and said on NBC Blackhawks talk, "He [Mikita] could play any way you wanted," as he emphasized his versatility as a player on the ice in a rough era of hockey.

Even actor Mike Myers spoke greatly of the late Mikita with USA Today. His 1992 film "Wayne's World" features Stan Mikita in the form of a Blackhawks-themed diner called Stan Mikita's Donuts.

"He was a hockey legend and a gentleman." Myers said, "Meeting him was one of the highlights."

Mikita's legacy

He will be remembered, for a years to come, as a pioneer of modern hockey.

He was the one who is credited for curving the blade of the hockey stick as it was traditionally flat in hockey's early years. He was also one of the first players to wear a helmet on the ice. Mikita's class was reflected greatly in 1967 and 1968 when he won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct back-to-back seasons. He also won the Art Ross and Hart trophies those same years.

Many fans in the 60s will never forget when he and the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 1961. He scored six goals and five assists in that 1961 playoff run. Overall, he had an amazing career on and off the ice. He will continue to be an influence on hockey players for years to come.

Rest in Peace, Stan Mikita.