Marian Hossa has a historic weekend ahead as Blackhawks retire his number


CHICAGO – There haven’t been many of these moments in the history of the franchise, but then again, there haven’t been many players on the Blackhawks quite like the player who wore No. 81.

Marian Hossa made his mark in many ways during his eight seasons in Chicago both in production and as a leader. Arriving in 2009, he was the missing piece for a young team with potential that would blossom into the best in the history of the franchise over the better part of a decade.

The contributions of Hossa were so significant the Blackhawks will do something they’ve only done a select few times in history: Have a jersey retirement ceremony.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

That will happen on Sunday at the United Center when his No. 81 is set up to the rafters before the Blackhawks’ game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was announced earlier this year that Hossa would become the first member of the team’s 2010 dynasty to receive the honor.

How will that moment be for Hossa?

“Great question,” said the Hockey Hall of Famer when asked that at a news conference on Wednesday. “I’m not sure, but right now I feel great.”

Here’s a little more on the weekend ahead and Hossa’s legacy with the Blackhawks.

Marian Hossa joins elite company

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hossa will become the eighth player in Blackhawks’ history to have his number retired. Here are the others:

#1 Glenn Hall

#3 Pierre Pilote & Keith Magnuson

#9 Bobby Hull

#18 Denis Savard

#21 Stan Mikita

#35 Tony Esposito

Number retirement ceremonies are rare for the Blackhawks

(Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

This will be the sixth number retirement ceremony in the history of the Blackhawks. The reason why it’s not the eighth is that the team twice retired a pair of numbers at the same time.

In the last ceremony on November 12, 2008, both Magnuson and Pilote had their No. 3 retired together. On November 20, 1988, Glenn Hall (#1) and Tony Esposito (#35) saw their numbers go up to the rafters on the same night.

Sunday will be the third time a number will be retired at the United Center, with Denis Savard being the first when his No. 18 went into the rafters on March 19, 1998. Stan Mikita (October 19, 1980), Bobby Hull (December 18, 1983), along with Esposito and Hall had their ceremonies at Chicago Stadium.

Hossa was the first and now will be the last player in the history of the Blackhawks to wear No. 81.

Marian Hossa’s legacy with the Blackhawks

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Arguably the greatest free agent signing in the history of Chicago sports, Hossa was one of the best on the Blackhawks during the greatest on-ice era in franchise history.

During his eight seasons in Chicago, he had 186 goals and 229 assists in 534 regular season games. During 107 playoff contests, Hossa had 21 scores along with 52 helpers as the Blackhawks made the postseason every year he was with them.

The five-time NHL All-Star was a critical part of Stanley Cup championship teams in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Hossa reached 1,000 points and 500 goals in his career as a member of the Blackhawks as well.

He might have added more to those totals had a skin condition forced him to stop playing after the 2016-2017 season. Hossa’s contract was traded to the Coyotes in 2018 with three years remaining on the original 12-year deal, but he did sign a ceremonial one-day contract with the Blackhawks last April before officially retiring.

Hossa was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020 and was officially enshrined in 2021.

The schedule for Sunday’s number retirement

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The official retirement ceremony is set for Sunday at 4:30 PM on the ice at the United Center, which is an hour and a half before puck drop between the Blackhawks and Penguins.

You can see the full schedule of events at the arena by clicking here.

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