By Doug Halberstadt
With the start of the 2013 National Hockey League season less two weeks away, Chicago Blackhawks fans are getting the itch to see their favorite players hit the ice. Until then, I found a book about a former Blackhawk icon that will help me fill that hockey void between now and opening night: Keith Magnuson: The Inspiring Life and Times of a Beloved Blackhawk, by Doug Feldman and a foreword by fellow former Blackhawk Cliff Koroll.
This insightful biography chronicles Magnuson’s life on and off the ice, while paying tribute to a true hockey legend.
Magnuson spent 11 seasons as a player for Chicago and spent three more years with the team as an assistant coach for one season and then the head coach for the following two years. During his playing years, he was recognized as one of the roughest defensemen in the league. While skating alongside Blackhawk legends Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito and Stan Mikita, Magnuson served as the Blackhawks’ chief fighter and team enforcer. He racked up a career total 1,442 penalty minutes, while only scoring 14 goals in those 11 years.
His rough-and-tumble style of play earned him team captain status for several years. He also played in two NHL All-Star games and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1970. He is one of only seven Blackhawks whose jersey number (3) has been retired.
After his on-ice days, Magnuson formed the Blackhawk Alumni Association, a group that aims to provide scholarships for high school hockey players in Illinois.
Magnuson’s life was tragically cut short on Dec. 15, 2003, when a car he was riding in veered over the center line and struck an oncoming vehicle.
Triumph Books of Chicago is the publisher of Magnuson’s biography.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Sept. 18-24, 2013, issue