Stan Mikita is undoubtedly one of the NHL's greatest players. He is the two time NHL MVP and all time Chicago scoring leader (1467 points). I ranked the Hockey Hall of Famer 12th on my list of the top 100 hockey players of all time. I would even be open to the idea that Mikita, not Bobby Hull, is the great Chicago Blackhawks player of all time.
Sadly, as the Hawks celebrate their third Stanley Cup championship in six years, Mikita - and his family - has fallen on hard times. One of the most memorable hockey players ever has been robbed of his memory.
According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, Mikita has been diagnosed with “suspected dementia with Lewy body, a brain disorder that can strip those with it of memory, cause hallucinations, sleep disorders and often, though not in Mikita's case, Parkinson's disease.”
"His mind is completely gone," Jill, Stan's wife of 52 years, says while sitting on the sun porch as one of her grandsons fishes in the pond out back. "I don't like to use that term but there's no other way to describe it."
"You know what? He doesn't know he's missing out, he has no idea," Jill Mikita says. "If he was terminally ill and his mind was intact then I think I would be heartbroken. But right now, he has no idea."
The article is definitely worth your time. Another interesting addition to the article is that while Mikita will have his brain donated to researchers to determine if he, like an alarming number of athletes in contact sports, has developed the neurological disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), his family will not be joining any of the lawsuits against the NHL for alleged negligence of brain injuries.
"If he does have CTE, who cares? It's not going to change anything," Jane Mikita says. "He played a sport and a game that he loved and that provided us as a family with a wonderful upbringing. Hockey was good to Stan and Stan was good to hockey. There is no finger to be pointed. He knew what he was doing lacing up those skates every time he got on the ice."