Chicago Blackhawks remember Pierre Pilote

Former Chicago Blackhawks great Pierre Pilote waves to the thousands of fans gathered in Grant Park for a rally to honor the NHL Stanley Cup hockey champions, Friday, June 28, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Chicago Blackhawks have released the following statement on Pierre Pilote, who passed away last night at the age of 85:

“The Chicago Blackhawks offer our sincere condolences to the family of Pierre Pilote as we mourn his passing. Pierre was one of the most decorated defenseman in NHL history and was a valuable member of the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team. 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.”

Pilote played a total of 14 seasons in the National Hockey League (1955-1969)—13 of those (1955-1968) with the Chicago Blackhawks. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Pilote played with the 1961 Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship team and served as team captain from 1961-1968. The defenseman played in 821 games and scored 477 points (77G, 400A) as a member of the Blackhawks and is one of just eight defensemen in NHL history to capture the Norris Trophy three times (1963, 1964, 1965). A native of Kenogami, Quebec, his #3 sweater was retired by the team along with Keith Magnuson’s in November of 2008 and hangs from the rafters at the United Center.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today issued this statement regarding the passing of Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Pierre Pilote:

“A consistent, durable, dependable defender who enjoyed the offensive aspects of the position, Pierre Pilote was a team captain, an eight-time post-season All-Star and a three-time Norris Trophy winner,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Mainstay of the Blackhawks’ 1961 Stanley Cup champion, Pierre also was a man of humor and great dignity and a proud member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The National Hockey League mourns Pierre’s passing and sends heartfelt condolences to his family, teammates and many friends.”

The Pilote family released the following statement:

“We are saddened with the passing of our father, but our family will always remember the Blackhawks organization for providing us with so many special moments. 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 #3 by the team.”

Pilote leaves behind four children; Denise, Pierre Jr., Renée and David along with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Annie, and he will be greatly missed by his companion, June Gerdes-Beard. He was also an avid golfer and participated in many charity events over his lifetime.