Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011
By Tracey Myers
Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull were already reveling with fellow 1961 Chicago Blackhawks teammates on their Heritage Night on Sunday night. Not long after the opening ceremony, the duo found out theyll soon be immortalized in bronze.
The Blackhawks announced they will unveil life-sized bronze statues of Mikita and Hull early in the 2011-12 season. The statues will be located outside the United Center.
I dont know how to explain euphoria; you guys can help me out, Mikita said during the first intermission. Its a great gesture on their part for all of this to happen to us. Now I know how Michael (Jordan) felt out there.
Hull remembered when his son, Brett, got a bronze statue in front of what is now the Scottrade Center in St. Louis a few years ago.
I said, Son, this is the greatest tribute youll ever have. Itll never go away. Youre part of this real estate now. And Stan and I are going to be part of this real estate, Hull said. And when were gone and hopefully not forgotten, when people walk by, theyll remember the era of the Mikitas and the Hulls.
In a statement, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said Bobby and Stan and have been so terrific for the organization for so many years, its a way that we could show our support. And our fans from all over the world can come to see this.
The announcement was a perfect cap for the two after the pregame ceremony honoring that Stanley Cup-winning 1961 squad. Other 61 players attending included Glenn Hall, Ab McDonald, Pierre Pilote and Bill Hay. The 20-minute ceremony, emceed by Eddie Olczyk, featured a video montage of that season.
The attending players also had a private dinner on Saturday night, during which they received a 50th anniversary ring from Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough. The ring is an exact replica of the one they received in 1961, with 2011 added to one side.
But for Hull and Mikita, being bronzed was a great ender on the night.
The greatest tribute Ill ever have paid to me is when they put me in bronze in front of this building, Hull said. Its not just a tribute to me but also the great teams I played with.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.