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Former Blackhawks captain Pat Stapleton dies of stroke at age 79

Former Blackhawks captain Pat Stapleton dies of stroke at age 79

Pat Stapleton, seen here in this October 1973 file photo, played eight seasons for the Blackhawks and two for the WHA’s Chicago Cougars. | Chicago Sun-Times

Stapleton played eight seasons for the Blackhawks, then two more for the WHA’s Chicago Cougars, from 1965 to 1975.

Pat Stapleton — a stalwart of the Blackhawks’ defense for eight seasons between 1965 and 1973 and a team captain for one — died Wednesday night from complications with a stroke, the Hawks announced Thursday.

Stapleton was 79.

“The Chicago Blackhawks organization would like to express their deepest sympathy to the family, friends and former teammates of Pat Stapleton,” the team said in a statement.

“As a former team captain and valued member of the Blackhawks Alumni Association, Stapleton’s contributions to the organization will forever be remembered by the entire Blackhawks community.”

Stapleton joined the Hawks for the 1965-66 season at age 25, after several years bouncing around between the Bruins and several minor-league teams. He immediately became a productive playmaking defenseman, recording at least 30 assists in each of his first seven seasons with the team and breaking out for a career-high 10 goals in his final season.

He served as captain during the 1969-70 season, then helped propel the Hawks to the Stanley Cup Finals (despite eventual losses to the Canadiens) in both 1971 and 1973, tallying a combined 34 points in 34 games over those two playoff runs.

The Ontario native then joined the upstart World Hockey Association’s Chicago Cougars, which played home games in the International Amphitheatre on the south side. He continued his productive ways with the Cougars in 1973-74 and 1974-75, then played three more seasons with the WHA’s short-lived Indianapolis and Cincinnati franchises before retiring in 1978.

Stapleton finished his career with 337 points in 635 NHL games and 239 points in 372 WHA games.

Source : Ben Pope Link

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