Stan Mikita scored 1,467 points in an NHL career that spanned from 1958-80. (THN Archive)
Status: NHL Hall of Fame right winger played for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1958-80. Stanley Cup winner; Four Art Ross Trophies for most points; two Hart Trophies for MVP ('67, -68); 1,467 career total points; Lester Patrick Trophy in 1976; Two Lady Bing Trophies.
Ht: 5-foot-9 Wt: 169 pounds
DOB: May 20, 1940 In: Sokolce, Czechoslovakia
First Hockey Memory: "Probably at about the age of 14, I went to an exhibition game in St. Catharines – a Maple Leafs game. I was actually a rink rat at the time, but I had never seen an NHL game. I remember I said to my buddy, ‘they get paid to do this? They actually get paid to have fun?’ "
Nicknames: "‘Stosh’. In Montreal they called me 'Petite Diablo.' I don't know who wrote it though."
Favorite Movies: "I don't see that many now. Charles Bronson was my favorite actor, because people said I was uglier than him (smiles). If I got a laugh out of it, I enjoyed it. We tried to laugh all our lives."
Last Book Read: "I think it was the Jackie Burke story (It's Only a Game: Words of Wisdom from a Lifetime in Golf). He was a golf pro, feisty guy. I never met him, unfortunately. He won the Masters. I watch a lot of golf videos. Maybe that's why I'm so screwed up (smiles)."
Favorite TV Show: "Watch a lot of sports. Not to critique."
Hobbies/Leisure Activities: "I'm a golf nut. But I'm not playing too well. So I guess I'm a nutty golfer now. I've gone up to a 10 handicap. I was a pretty good player at one time, for one summer. I enjoy some of the plays in New York; Broadway shows. I enjoy symphony music."
First Job: "My uncle/dad was a carpenter. Once in a while I'd give him a hand on Saturdays and in the summer. He never taught me to hit the nail and not my finger (smiles)."
Current Car: "2005 Acura RL (white)."
Favorite Meal: "Pot roast, believe it or not, when it's done by my wife. On the road, all we'd eat was steak. I'd only eat the vegetables to show the kids to eat it. Now I just enjoy what I get in front of me."
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Vanilla with caramel topping."
Greatest Sports Moment: "It's gotta be the Stanley Cup. I played pretty well in the series, not overwhelming (def. Detroit 4-2 in 1961). I was 19, 20. I wasn't quite sure how to finish plays yet. We jelled the last three weeks of the season and we got a hot goalie in Glenn Hall. And we scored goals at the right time. We still have a great camaraderie with our line – Ab McDonald and Kenny Wharram. Though I don't see Kenny as much."
Most Painful Moment: "There's been a few of them. You're gonna get injured. I guess the most painful was when I got hit with a line drive right on the in-step. Somehow the tongue of the skate didn't stop a darn thing. It cracked a bone in there. I remember coming home from the hospital on crutches. I sat down on a chair and fell asleep. My son Scott – for Christmas he got those plastic bowling pins and the ball. All of the sudden I felt the most painful, excruciating pain in my life. He swung the pin and hit my foot. I'll never forget seeing him standing there with a smile on his face."
Favorite Uniforms: "I think the Blackhawks have the best logo. The Indian head with the colors is unbelievable."
Favorite Arena: "At first it was Montreal because they had the best ice. But they had square corners; they were the last team to round the corners. The Montreal defensemen really knew how to use those corners. As far as the crowd, it had to be Chicago Stadium. When they sang the anthem during the Gulf War, it was the loudest I had ever heard it."
Funny Hockey Memory: "There was a lot of fun days. The snipe hunts. Take the rookies, have the police arrest them."
Closest Hockey Friends: "Probably Glenn Hall, Bobby Hull and then, like I said, Ab McDonald, Kenny Wharram. So many guys. A lot were opponents. It was in the days you couldn't talk to your opponent, according to Ted Lindsay. He was my first mentor. He didn't want you to talk or fraternize with opponents before or after the game – only in the summer. Ted Lindsay is a friend still, too, even though he was an opponent for years."
Funniest Player Encountered: "It was like a team, like Abbott & Costello and Laurel & Hardy. One guy was the jokester and one guy was the straight man. They played off each other. It was Dennis Hull and Doug Jarrett. They played off each other; they knew each other in junior hockey. Funny guys, funny stories. And most were clean stories. Dennis is an after-dinner speaker now."
Toughest Competitor: "Only one. Some guy named Gordie Howe. I had some run-ins with a lot of people, but he stood out. I was just hoping I woke up after he hit me. Teddy Lindsay played with him. He was sort of a mean guy, he's 35, I'm 18. We were about the same size. I asked Teddy, ‘How did you acclimate yourself to play with these big guys?’ He said, ‘Hit them first. Or stand up and fight.’ As it turned out, I didn't win too many.
“And the one with Howe, accidentally I cut him under the eye. He saw the drops of blood. He didn't like to see his own blood, though he didn't care about seeing other people's blood. He's looking around. I'm 18, a punk. I said, ‘Ah, you're too old to take this, just hang 'em up.’ I knew I shouldn't have said it. Ted Lindsay said between periods, ‘You better watch yourself, this guy doesn't forget.’ We played almost every week in those days.
"I went on the ice next period, thought, ‘Geez, maybe I better watch myself.’ We played the next time, nothing. Three, four, seven games, nothing happened. I'm thinking, the old guy forgot. I could laugh at him again. As soon as I thought that in my head, I knew I shouldn't have.
“The very next shift...I don't know what happened. I came crawling off the ice. Seeing stars. I'm on the bench, feeling dizzy, thinking, ‘Get me a doctor.’ Next thing I know I feel hands under my arms, lifting me. They threw me out on the ice. I was a red sweater on the bench with white sweaters. I was so out of it I went to the wrong bench.”
"I get back to our bench. I had ice packs on my cheeks, still seeing stars. Denis DeJordy says, ‘Stanley, you want the to know the number of that truck that ran you over? I saw exactly what happened. I'm the only one who saw what happened. You were going across the ice, he was coming across the other way and put his hand under his arm and threw an uppercut. Boom!’ ”
"We get to the next game, skating around in warmup. Somehow we both ended up at center ice. He looked at me and said, ‘Hey kid, did you learn anything from that episode in Detroit? I said, Are we even?’ Howe said, ‘If you think we're even, you didn't learn anything.’ Three or four games later he said, ‘You had enough?’ ‘Yes sir, I apologize. I had enough.’ We called it quits and became friends after. Famous story. He might have been the strongest out there, but he never hurt you without a reason."
Strangest Game: "I can't remember. One thing I remember is when the game's over, I didn't bring it home. I took a long time to shower sometimes. I never went out walking around like someone should knock a chip off my shoulder. I just tried to play my best on the ice, that's it."
Favorite Sport To Watch Outside Hockey: "I enjoy golf on TV. "
Most Memorable Goal: "There were a few of those that caused me bodily harm. Too bad we didn't have replays. My very first one in the NHL – I went through the whole team (smiles). Actually, what happened was I was in front, Ted Lindsay shot it and hit me in the ass and it went in. I got hit in the right cheek and it went in. I scored eight my rookie year and 19 my second year."
Favorite Players To Watch: "I watch different players. I watch different positions. Focus one shift on center. Focus a shift on right wing. See how the lines jell. You see a lot of things happen and you wish you could say something or wish someone would ask. I've seen a lot of great goals recently. (Jonathan) Toews, (Patrick) Kane. They're playing pretty good hockey. When I say 'pretty good' that means they're playing great hockey. But I don't want to go overboard."
Personality Qualities Most Admired: "Honesty. Just don't b.s. me. That's what I try to be with the public, with people."