Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita statues unveiled in emotional Blackhawks tribute
By Ben Meyer-Abbott firstname.lastname@example.org October 22, 2011 9:48PM
Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita stand by there statues after the two former Chicago Blackhawk players were honor Saturday night at the United Center Saturday, October 22, 2011 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: November 24, 2011 8:36AM
Michael Jordan got some company Saturday.
The Blackhawks unveiled two statues of Hockey Hall of Famers Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in a pregame ceremony outside the United Center — across the street from the old Chicago Stadium location, where they played a combined 2,430 games.
It was an emotional night for Hull and Mikita, who were brought back into the fold of the franchise by team president John McDonough and chairman Rocky Wirtz after a prolonged absence four years ago.
“To have a bronze depicting me here where hundreds of thousands of people will walk by and say, ‘Yeah, I remember him. Yeah, he could play a little bit,’ it’s good to be something,” Hull said of the statues. “This a wonderful tribute to both Stan and I.”
As with much of their career, Hull and Mikita shared the experience together in a ceremony watched by hundreds on Madison Street. The two were members of the 1961 Hawks’ Stanley Cup champions, later inducted into the Hall of Fame at the same time and even played on the same midget team as teenagers.
“It hasn’t sunk in and I don’t think it ever will,” Mikita said.
Mikita spent his entire two-decade career with the Hawks and remains the franchise leader in assists, points and games played. Hull ranks first in goals and second in points and games. Both won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP twice.
“A lot of people have become accustomed to the Jordan statue,” Patrick Kane said before the game. “Those guys mean just as much to the Blackhawks organization as Jordan did to the Bulls. . . . It’s fun to say that you know those guys.”
Marian Hossa played Saturday after he sat out practice the day before.
The right winger missed one game and several practices last week while nursing an upper-body injury. He said at the morning skate that missing practice Friday was a precaution, and the undisclosed issue wasn’t bothering him.
“If there was a game [Thursday], I definitely would [have played],” Hossa said. “But I felt like sometimes it’s smarter to instead of go 20 minutes on the ice, just do something in the gym. Take care of your body a different way.”
Coach Joel Quenneville has been pleased by the Hawks’ disciplined play early in the season. The team was short-handed only 10 times over four games before Saturday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche and killed off every penalty during the stretch.
“Some stretches there, if you stay out of the box, your penalty killing gets better,” Quenneville said. “If you kill one or two a game, it usually keeps it in good order. You start taking silly penalties or needless penalties or undisciplined penalties . . . those are the ones you have a hard time killing.”