Keith Magnuson, defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1969-1980, passed away in an automobile accident late Monday December 15th in Vaughan, Ontario, he was 56.
Keith Magnuson broke into the NHL as a member of the Blackhawks during the 1969/70 season. He played 10 seasons in the NHL, all with Chicago.
In his first season, the Blackhawks went from last place in the East Division to first place. He was a member of Blackhawk teams that went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1971 and 1973. A tough, gritty player, Magnuson still holds the record for most penalty minutes in a career as a Blackhawk (1,442).
Following his playing career, Magnuson coached the Blackhawks from 1980-82. He was named to the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Saskatoon Hall of Fame in 1990. He was also one of six defensemen named to the Blackhawks' 75th Anniversary Team. He played in two NHL All-Star Games (1971 and 1972).
The Blackhawks will pay special tribute to Keith Magnuson prior to Sunday night's game against the New Jersey Devils.
Former teammates, coaches and members of the Blackhawks organization share their memories of Magnuson below:
"Keith Magnuson was an outstanding human being," said Blackhawks President William W. Wirtz. "His contributions to the hockey world and the Chicagoland community are endless. Keith was a leader both on and off the ice and was always there for people in need. He was loved by his family, friends, and teammates. Everyone in the Blackhawk organization sends their deepest condolences to Keith's family and friends. This is a sad day for the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago. Keith Magnuson will be deeply missed."
Senior Vice President/General Manager Bob Pulford may have put it best: "As you travel through life, you meet very few people who are a notch above the rest. Keith Magnuson was one of those people."
"Keith Magnuson was probably one of the proudest Blackhawks ever," said former Blackhawks Coach Billy Reay. "The one thing Maggie always wanted to do was to play for the Blackhawks. He was so proud to be a Blackhawk."
"This is just devastating," said former Blackhawk great Stan Mikita. "Keith Magnuson was a super guy. Even the opposition liked Maggie. They showed just how much they liked him when they elected him President of the NHL Alumni Association. When Maggie did something, he did it full-bore. He was a true Blackhawk. Our thoughts and prayers are with Keith's family."
"Keith Magnuson was the greatest teammate and friend you could ever have," said Blackhawks Assistant General Manager Dale Tallon. "Maggie was always there for you and always supported you."
"It's not who he was, but what he stood for," said Blackhawks Head Coach Brian Sutter. "Maggie helped every player who came here. He was the ultimate competitor on the ice and very compassionate off the ice. He just cared so much for people. He was proud to be a Blackhawk."
"Maggie was our chief," said Blackhawks Assistant Coach Denis Savard. "He had a great impact on players in the organization. We lost our chief."
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