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Magnuson, 56, dies in car accident

12/16/2003 - Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman and coach
Keith Magnuson will always be remembered as a fiery and emotional
player.

Magnuson, 56, was killed Monday in an auto accident
in suburban Toronto, the team said. He was riding in a car with
former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Rob Ramage, Blackhawks spokesman
Jim DeMaria said.

"We're still investigating, but it looks like one car crossed
over the center median," York Region Const. Steve Morrell told the
Canadian Press.

An official at William Osler Health Center in Toronto said
Ramage was headed for surgery late Monday but wouldn't confirm his
condition.

Another woman from a different vehicle was hospitalized with
non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The accident happened at about 5 p.m., in Vaughan, a suburb just
north of Toronto.

Magnuson played for Chicago from 1969-80 and coached the team
for 1½ seasons.

"He was hard-nosed. He was a tough guy," DeMaria said. "He
wore his heart on his sleeve. He was a great player."

Magnuson was extremely aggressive, a player who fought
frequently and didn't win very often.

To compensate for that, he took boxing lessons and would work
himself into a pique before the start of each game. He became a
team leader, who adopted coach Billy Reay's defensive mantra of
"None Against." That meant that Magnuson would strive at all
costs to keep the puck out of his own net.

Legends of Hockey.net, the Hockey Hall of Fame's Web site,
quoted him as saying he'd stop the puck with his teeth if
necessary.

Magnuson, a member of the Blackhawks' 75th anniversary all-star
team selected in 2001, played for Chicago from 1969-80. He had 14
goals, 125 assists and 1,442 penalty minutes in 589 NHL games. In
68 playoff games, he had three goals, nine assists and 164 penalty
minutes.

He coached the Blackhawks from 1980-82 and had a record of
49-57-26.

Magnuson continued to live in the Chicago area and remained
visible with the team until his death, DeMaria said.

"He was a member of the alumni association of the Blackhawks
and of the NHL," DeMaria said. "He was always down at the United
Center and he always wished the team well."

Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz issued a statement extending
sympathies to Magnuson's family.

"Keith was an outstanding human being and we're all deeply
saddened by this devastating loss," Wirtz said.

Ramage, 44, played in 1,044 games in the NHL from 1979-94,
getting 139 goals with 425 assists. He captained the Maple Leafs
from 1989-91.

He also played for the Colorado Rockies, St. Louis, Calgary,
Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Montreal and Philadelphia.

Funeral arrangements for Magnuson were not immediately known.