CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of fans said their final goodbyes to the one they called one of the greatest who ever played the game.
A visitation for Stan Mikita was held at the United Center. He passed away earlier this week at the age of 78.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams has the story.
Thirty-eight years after Stan Mikita retired, across the street from the old Chicago Stadium where he became a legend, his fans paid a final tribute. To all he did in this town.
“It’s really sweet that everyone comes out just say one goodbye to him for Chicago, because he was a true Chicagoan and loved the city of Chicago,” said fan Stephanie Wright.
The greatest Blackhawk, Mike Lowe called him.
“The way he played the game. The way he was off the ice. He was just a great guy,” said Lowe.
Mikita’s number 21 jersey was placed on top of his coffin in the United Center Atrium. The trophies he won were close. Family members greeted fans who shared what Mikita meant to them.
“He was a great player. He was a Blackhawk. He was a gentleman,” said Linda Kalwinski.
Ferocious player, a hockey hall of famer, equally beloved for his devotion to charities.
As boy he arrived in Canada from Czechoslovakia, unable to speak or understand English. And so he later he founded for camp players who had hearing loss. Mikita understood.
“He took his fame, his fortune and helped others who were disadvantaged and felt the same way he did,” said fan Mark Kalwinski.
“We love Stan Mikita” Stephanie Wright wrote on a puck, speaking for all at Sunday’s visitation.
“For all of this skill and all of his fame, he really was a wonderful human being,” said Kalwinski.