One more way Chicago Blackhawks can honor Mikita

In the history of the NHL, few players have thought outside the box better than Stan Mikita.As one of the first to use a curved stick and to permanently don a helmet, Mikita was truly a hockey trailblazer, and he had to be one of the easiest selections when...

One more way Chicago Blackhawks can honor Mikita

In the history of the NHL, few players have thought outside the box better than Stan Mikita.

As one of the first to use a curved stick and to permanently don a helmet, Mikita was truly a hockey trailblazer, and he had to be one of the easiest selections when the league unveiled its impressive top-100 list last month.

A Chicago Blackhawks organization that once alienated its past stars, and almost all of its fans, has done an incredible spin-o-rama over the past 10 years and -- like Mikita -- also has done an incredible job of thinking outside the box.

The impressive list of team promotions includes:

• Bringing back alumni for numerous Heritage Night celebrations.

• Having players design holiday cards with proceeds going to charity.

• Producing engaging videos at home games.

• The recent internet hit Soup and a Sandwich.

• The One More Shift initiative.

With this last idea in mind, the Blackhawks should find a way to honor Mikita in the near future.

One More Shift, a collaborative effort by Hawks insiders, was designed to bring back some of the team's heroes by allowing them to skate onto the United Center ice in front of an adoring crowd.

Thus far, Denis Savard, Steve Larmer and Jeremy Roenick have taken part.

Mikita, who has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, obviously wouldn't be able to participate in such an event. But with what many consider to be the most beloved and respected player in franchise history in so many fans' thoughts and prayers, why not get a little creative and show fans how much this icon still means to the franchise?

So here's my idea: With Stan's image and/or a highlight reel playing on the UC scoreboard, have his three grandsons skate out wearing No. 21 jerseys. They're the perfect age for such a ceremony -- 10, 12 and 14 -- and they all are hockey players.

Considering how the Hawks produce videos and tug at their fans' heartstrings, one has to believe it would be a moving tribute.

• • • 

Stan's wife, Jill, his daughter Jane and one of Jane's sons all went to Los Angeles over all-star weekend for the Friday ceremony at Staples Center honoring the top players in NHL history.

Stan was unveiled as one of the top 100 by way of a video tribute. He was one of eight centers selected from the 1970s, the others being Phil Esposito, Jacques Lemaire, Gilbert Perreault, Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne, Jean Ratelle and Darryl Sittler.

Even though Stan could not attend, Jill said it was still a proud moment for the family.

"It was emotional just to see my dad and Bobby (Hull), Tony (Esposito), Guy LeFleur, Yvan Cournoyer," Jane said. "Clearly big names in the NHL, but also long-standing family friends. Those guys all had a great friendship and camaraderie off the ice that it made it that much more special."

In addition to attending the ceremony and the All-Star Game itself, the Mikitas also visited Stan Mikita's All Star Cafe, erected as a tribute to Stan Mikita's Donuts from "Wayne's World." The hit comedy film is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Fans were offered coffee and doughnuts for free, and the movie was shown Friday night.

"They did a great job," Jane said.

For those who missed it, Sports Illustrated just did a huge piece on Stan in January, and it is well worth your time.

As for Stan, he still lives in a full-time care facility in the Western suburbs, and Jill, Jane or son Chris continue to visit every day.

"He's doing the same," Jill said. "We're not doctors; we can't diagnose him. He's still walking around. He's just moving a little slower."

• The Blackhawks on Thursday called up Tanner Kero and Nick Schmaltz from Rockford. Vinnie Hinostroza and defenseman Gustav Forsling, however, remain with the IceHogs.

• Follow John on Twitter @johndietzdh.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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