Blackhawks to retire No. 3

Make room in the rafters at the United Center.

Sometime this season, the Chicago Blackhawks will retire No. 3 for Hall of Famer Pierre Pilote and the late Keith Magnuson.

The announcement was made Friday during the opening of the first Blackhawks Convention.

"In keeping consistent with honoring our past greats, the Blackhawks are proud to announce that we will be retiring the number three for two wonderful gentlemen," team president John McDonough said in a press release. "The number three hanging in their honor will be a continuing memory to our fans and players on what it means to be a distinguished member of the Blackhawks family."

Pilote played in the Windy City from 1955-68, and was a member of the Blackhawks’ most recent Stanley Cup championship team in 1961. He was a three-time Norris Trophy winner, a five-time All-Star, and captained the club from 1961-68.

He’s second on the ‘Hawks all-time list among defensemen with 400 assists, and fourth with 477 points. Thirty-seven years ago, Pilote led Chicago with 12 assists and 15 points during their last Cup run.

Magnuson was the quintessential tough guy of his era, racking up 1,442 penalty minutes in 589 games with Chicago from 1969-80, serving the final three seasons as captain. He also was the team’s head coach in 1980-81, leading them to a second-place finish in the Smythe Division.

Magnuson died in 2003 at 56 in Ontario returning from a funeral after a car driven by former NHL blueliner Rob Ramage plowed into another vehicle. Ramage’s blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, and he was sentenced in January to four years in prison.

The No. 3 will be the sixth retired by the Blackhawks, joining those worn by Glenn Hall (1), Bobby Hull (9), current head coach Denis Savard (18), Stan Mikita (21) and Tony Esposito (35).

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