Being a young 24 years old I was never able to watch Keith Madnuson don the #3 jersey for the Blackhawks, and although his stats may not be the most impressive on paper, I believe Magnuson resembled anything and everything that a Hawk should be. With respect to his off-ice contributions in the years leading up to his tragic death, Magnuson was a very intricle part in Hawk charities especially with the youth and high school hockey players in Illinois.
I had the pleasure of meeting Keith in 2002 at a luincheon with the Blackhawks. His stories and insight were memorable. I believe there to be much more behing a hockey player than their stats, and think the Hawks should give the same respect to Magnuson, as he gave the Hawks throughout a major part of his life. He truly did "Commit to the Indian". -- Dan, Palos Park
If any one Blackhawk deserves to have their jersey retired, it is Steve Larmer. Though Pilote helped the Hawks win the '61 cup, and Magnuson and Wilson were both class guys with hall of fame numbers, Larmer is the player on your list that most deserves the honor.
Steve Larmer was a point scoring, hardworking, back checking right winger who could be counted on every single night. From 1982-93, Larmer played in every one of the Blackhawk's 884 regular season games, racking up 922 points. Over that same time period, he averaged a plus/minus of +16.5, a much better average than Doug Wilson's +8.5 over a similar time period, and almost the same as Magnuson's average of +17.
I know Larmer didn't have as many points as the other forwards whose jerseys are in the United Center rafters, but if New York's willing to retire Graves, why can't the Hawks retire 28. Larmer had a huge impact on Savard's game. Without Larmer, Savard averaged .48 points per game less than with him. The same can be said for Larmer's benefit from Savard, but he only averaged .11 points per game less when he played without Savard.
Numbers aside, I'm partial to Larmer only because I was lucky enough to eat dinner with Larmer, Steve Smith and Chelios at Cheli's Chili bar in the early 90's. I was pretty young but I remember Larmer had a great sense of humor and a phenomenal hockey hair cut. -- Jack Burk
I would like to take this opportunity to state my case for Dirk Graham's #33 to be the next number to rise to the rafters in the United Center. Growing up in the early 80's, there are many names that could be argued for, a few that are on your poll. However, when I think of that era, I see Graham as a constant presence. He was a natural leader, and a great team captain. I have always felt that Graham, while not a native of Chicago, captured the image of the city: gritty, tough, and loyal. So, if there is to be a new member of the elite club of retired Blackhawk numbers, I hope Dirk Graham is at least considered. -- David Chun, Chicago
I have only one answer to this question: Pierre Pilote.
Pierre Pilote was one of the premier defensemen, if not the best of his generation. Though he only scored 80 goals and 418 assists in his great career(not a great amount by todays standards), he was a force for this franchise, Captaining the Hawks to their last Stanley Cup and earning the Norris Trophy 3 times and being runner up 3 more. He earned 1st or 2nd team all star every season from 1960 to 1967, and was quite the "iron man" playing in 376 consecutive games. In 1998 he was listed as #59 in The Hockey News' top 100 players of all time. I know that some are probably aware of his accomplishments but I think all Hawk fans should know and be reminded of them.
Pierre Pilote was considered the Brian Leetch of his day, a rushing defenseman with superior skills in every aspect of the game. A high percentage of Bobby Hull's points came on give-and-go's with Pilote. The give-and-go was his signature play and contributed greatly to the Blackhawks being the only team of the era to dominate the Montreal Canadiens at their own game: firewagon hockey. His defensive skills were excellent and, much like Nick Lidstrom, he kept the game in front of him at all times. I can think of no one who is more deserving of this honor that isn't already there.
Please bring back #3 to the Blackhawk family if possible so the younger fans and future generations(like my daughters) can learn about our glorious past and one of the very best defensemen in Hawk history, if not in the history of the NHL. I tell them often , but seeing, makes a much larger impression, IMHO. -- G.M. Logan Hammond, IN
There are alot of worthy Blackhawks who could possibly have their jerseys retired, but there is only one in my mind that belongs up there with Savard, Hull, Esposito, and the rest. That jersey is the #7 of Chris Chelios. No other Hawk since the 60's has meant more to this team, and more importantly to this city than Chris. He put his body and soul on the line every night, he is without a doubt the greatest American to ever play the game. Even though he gets booed every time he touches the puck now, he knows in his heart that we love him, and will welcome him back with open arms. He will be in the hockey hall of fame, and has given so much to this team and this sport, the absolute least the Hawks can do in return is raise his number to the rafters. Just my opinion. -- Andy Jonathan
If I were to pick one player who's jersey should be retired I think it should Chris Chelios, if and only if he comes back for one more season with the Hawks to sever the ties with the fans. He was one of the faces of the Hawks during the 90s when I was growing up. -- Brandon Vokac
No disrespect to Larmer, Wilson, Magnusson etc. intended. I rooted for and loved them all as great Blackhawks. I just don't think any of these players were quite to the all time level of a Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall, Denis Savard or Stan Mikita.
The Jersey's the Blackhawks have retired right now are not debatable and that's exactly how it should be. I mean is there any doubt when you mention the 5 Names the Blackhawks have retired? The answer is clearly NO, these guys were not just good or star players they were more than that they were special!!!
Of course here's hoping that 19 and 88 become the type of players that someday we can say "hey that's a no-brainer - hang 19 and 88 next to 21 and 9". -- JC