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Unsung Hawks: Cliff Koroll

by Harvey Wittenberg / Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks are fortunate to not only have tremendous fans, but also an active group of dedicated former players who form the team's Alumni Association, now headed by Cliff Koroll.

The Blackhawk Alumni Association began nearly 25 years ago under the leadership of the late Keith Magnuson, and it has become involved with various charities and high school scholarship funds throughout Chicagoland.

Cliff, like Keith, spent his entire NHL career with the Blackhawks, but their friendship began in college at the University of Denver and both broke into the NHL during the 1969-70 season.

Once he broke in, Cliff became the first Blackhawks rookie to register a hat trick when he acheived the feat on December 14, 1969 in a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia at the Stadium.

Cliff also ended the Blackhawks’ 34-year drought on penalty shots when he fired a shot past St. Louis goalie Ed Johnston at the Stadium on October 24, 1976. It would be another seven years before Denis Savard tallied on a penalty shot for the Hawks at St. Louis.

He remains in the Blackhawks’ record books in two other places, as well: Koroll tied the team mark for most assists in a period (4) in 1970 and was part of the fastest six goals by a Blackhawks team (9:13) when they ripped Montreal 10-2 at the Stadium on April 5. 1970.

After starting his NHL career with Keith, he and Magnuson, as well as future Hall of Famer Stan Mikita, all retired after the 1979-80 season. Koroll spent 11 seasons with the Blackhawks, skating in 814 regular-season games and tallying 208 goals and 254 assists. He ranks in the top-20 all-time among Chicago players in goals, assists and points.

When Magnuson was named Blackhawks head coach in 1980, he joined the team as an assistant. Cliff remained active in Chicago’s front office until 1989. He was also an inaugural member of the Alumni Association when the organization was founded in 1987.

Koroll took over as president of the alumni after Magnuson's passing in 2003. Cliff remains a guiding influence of the group. He resides in the Chicago area with his family and still attends nearly every Blackhawks home game.
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