Three years ago at an amusement park outside Washington, D.C., a
group of slack-jawed teenagers gathered around NHL Hall of Fame
center Stan Mikita. They were brandishing pens, jostling for
position to get autographs. "Do you guys remember me from the
Chicago Blackhawks?" asked Mikita, who was surprised and not a
little pleased by the recognition. After moments of silence one
of the boys finally spoke up. "Who," he said, "are the Chicago
Blackhawks?"

Mikita groans when telling the story. "I put in 22 years as a
pro athlete," he says, "and they remembered me from a doughnut
shop in a movie."

Such are the torments of Hollywood for Mikita, whose fictitious
Aurora, Ill., doughnut shack was the hip hangout of Wayne and
Garth in Wayne's World and its sequel. Although Mikita made only
a cameo in the first film and wasn't in the second, his mug
appeared throughout both movies on all sorts of kitschy
artifacts, including a 12-foot-high statue of him in his hockey
uniform. Indeed, Mikita has often seemed larger than life to
Chicagoans. During his NHL career, from 1958-59 through 1979-80,
all of which was spent with the Blackhawks, he won one Stanley
Cup ('61), two Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable
player ('67 and '68) and scored 1,467 points (seventh on the
alltime list, right behind Mario Lemieux). And while he often
played in the shadow of teammate Bobby Hull--a fact referred to
on the first of Mikita's three SI covers (above)--Mikita's
number, 21, was the first Blackhawks jersey to be retired.

A five-handicap golfer, Mikita spent the first seven years of
his retirement as a club pro at Kemper Lakes golf course in Long
Grove, Ill., before going into business with former teammate
Glen Skov as a plastics and corrugated-box salesman. But perhaps
his most significant achievement has been the Stan Mikita Hockey
School for the Hearing-Impaired, a weeklong camp he was inspired
to start in 1974 by a friend's deaf son, who wanted to learn the
game. The camp led to the formation of the USA National Deaf
Hockey Team, which two years ago won the gold medal at the World
Winter Games for the Deaf in Rovaniemi, Finland. Next month the
24th annual camp will convene at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in
Woodridge, Ill., with 75 volunteers and a record 105 youngsters,
ages five to 21, from across the U.S. "It's amazing," Mikita
says. "Kids are falling all over the place one year, and the
next year they're just scooting all over the ice. It's always a
very rewarding thing to see."

--GRANT WAHL

COLOR PHOTO: NEIL LEIFER [Cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED featuring Stan Mikita]
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