Memorial for former Blackhawk draws hundreds

Updated: December 21, 2003, 9:21 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Keith Magnuson was remembered at a memorial service Saturday as a fierce competitor whose blue-collar approach endeared him to Chicago hockey fans.

Magnuson, 56, was killed in three-car accident in Toronto on Monday. He and retired defenseman Rob Ramage were returning from a funeral when their vehicle crossed into an oncoming lane and struck a sport utility vehicle, which then was hit by another vehicle.

Cliff Koroll, a former Chicago teammate, met Magnuson in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, when they were 10 years old.

"He didn't have a lot of talent, a lot of skills," Koroll said. "But we all know what type of person he was, with his hard work ethic and desire. The one thing that will always stick out in my mind about Maggie was the size of his heart on the ice and off the ice."

Magnuson was a rugged defenseman for the Blackhawks from 1969 to 1980 and coached the team for 1½ seasons. He played in 589 games in 11 seasons, all with Chicago. He also was a founding member of the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni Association.

Former Blackhawks greats, including Stan Mikita, joined friends, family and fans at the hour-long service, which drew an estimated 500 people.

Mourners lined the walls of the church, overflowed into hallways and watched the service on closed-circuit televisions.

Also among those attending were members of the Wirtz family, which owns the Chicago hockey club; vice president and general manager Bob Pulford; head coach Brian Sutter; assistant coach Denis Savard; and former Chicago defenseman and current Detroit player Chris Chelios.

Magnuson is survived by wife Cindy and children Kevin and Molly, as well as by sister Meridel and brothers Dale and Wayne. Dale and Kevin also spoke at the service.

Jack Fitzsimmons, Mikita and the entire current Blackhawks team served as honorary pallbearers.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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