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On This Date in Sports February 27, 1977: Stan Mikita 500

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Longtime Chicago Black Hawks center Stan Mikita becomes the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 500-goal milestone. Mikita’s 500th goal comes late in the third period when he beats Cesare Maniago with a backhand. The goal brings a four-minute standing ovation from the crowd at Chicago Stadium, but the goal comes in vain, as the Black Hawks suffer a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

Stan Mikita was born in the Slovak Republic on May 20, 1940. When he was eight, his family moved to Canada to escape the communist Czechoslovakia government which had taken over. He learned to play hockey in Canada and later played with St. Catharines Teepees of the Ontario Hockey Association. The Teepees were affiliated at the time with the Chicago Black Hawks. At the end of the 1959 season, Mikita made his NHL debut with the Black Hawks and would become a stalwart in Chicago for the next two decades.

Mikita was a vital part of the 1961 team that won the Stanley Cup and soon became one of the Black Hawks' big forwards along with Bobby Hull. Stan Mikita won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer four times, in 1964, 1965, 1967, and 1968. Also adding the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP in 1967 and 1968.

Stan Mikita was famous for his curved sticks and was one of the first players to use a helmet. Mikita was plagued by back problems at the tail end of his career. His career came to an end in 1980, finishing with 541 goals with 926 assists, as his 1467 points ranked 14th all-time in the NHL, playing his entire career with the Chicago Black Hawks. In 1983, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.