CHICAGO (AP) Hall of Fame defenseman Pierre Pilote, a three-time Norris Trophy winner who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961, has died. He was 85.
The Blackhawks said Sunday that Pilote died Saturday night. Pilote was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975, and the Blackhawks retired his No. 3 jersey - along with Keith Magnuson's - in November 2008.
''Pierre was one of the most decorated defensemen in NHL history and was a valuable member of the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team,'' the team said in a statement. ''He will be remembered for his toughness, leadership and reliability on the ice - as proven by his captaincy and streak of 376 consecutive games played. We will forever be grateful for his incredible contribution to the Blackhawks and the game of hockey.''
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called Pilote a ''consistent, durable, dependable defender who enjoyed the offensive aspects of the position.''
''Pierre also was a man of humor and great dignity and a proud member of the Hockey Hall of Fame,'' Bettman said in a statement. ''The National Hockey League mourns Pierre's passing and sends heartfelt condolences to his family, teammates and many friends.''
Pilote played 13 of his 14 NHL seasons for Chicago. He captained the Blackhawks from 1961-68.
Pilote, a native of Kenogami, Quebec, had 80 goals and 418 assists in 890 career NHL games. He spent his last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
''Our family will always remember the Blackhawks organization for providing us with so many special moments,'' the Pilote family said in a release put out by the team. ''We are so proud of what our father accomplished in his professional career and thankful that his legacy will be preserved with the retirement of his (hash)3 by the team.''