December 17, 2003 by

Keith Magnuson


Categories: Sports

kmagnuson.jpgKeith Magnuson, a hockey coach and former Chicago Blackhawk, died on Dec. 15 in a car accident. He was 56.
Magnuson played hockey as a two-time All-American at the University of Denver. There he helped the Pioneers win NCAA championships in 1968 and 1969.
He spent 11 years playing defense for the Chicago Blackhawks before retiring in 1979. Always ready for a fight, Magnuson tallied only 14 goals during his career — mostly because he spent 1,442 minutes in the penalty box. He worked as the team’s assistant coach under Eddie Johnston before being promoted to head coach in 1980. He lead the team for a season and a half, earning a record of 49-57-26.
In 1997, Magnuson was declared the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s All-Time Best Defenseman and listed on the All-Time All-WCHA First Team. He was also named to the NCAA Championship’s 50th Anniversary Team and to the Blackhawks’ 75th Anniversary All-Star Team.
Magnuson and former Maple Leafs captain Rob Ramage were returning from the funeral of former NHL player Keith McCreary when the three-car collision occurred just south of Toronto. Ramage, 44, has been charged with impaired driving causing death, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

48 Responses to Keith Magnuson

  1. Rick Fisher

    Keith was the same age as me. He always gave 100 percent and was a team player. He had the heart of a lion and played the game of hockey with great emotion and an incredible desire to win every game. He will be missed by a lot of friends and fans of hockey. He was a gentleman who touched the lives of many people. I remember him well, and will not forget him. He was a true hero.

  2. Gail Halperin

    I am so crushed by this news. Its Dec 21st and I am first hearing of this tragic loss. #3 has been my favorite hockey player of all time. Ever since my first hockey game in 1969, that was the first day I became a real fan of Keith Magnuson. I too lost my husband 3 yrs ago and now the pain that Mrs.Magnuson is enduring. My husband would have been the same age as Keith was. Please I wish my sincere condolences to the Magnuson Family….

  3. Dana Savocchi

    My girlfriend and I were hockey groupies when Keith played. We met him a few times, I even have an autographed picture of him with a lovely sentiment. Years later I spoke with him at the Lake Forest College hockey rink – his son’s team had just finished a game and my son’s team was going to play next. I went up to him, of course he wouldn’t remember me (one of a million fans he had), I introduced myself and we talked for a few minutes. Even though he didn’t know me, he treated me like an old friend. Not many “famous” people are that kind to strangers, all the time. I will always remember Keith Magnuson as a great hockey player, a warm and friendly person, and a great human being. My condolences to his family. He will be missed!

  4. Heather Tirpe

    It’s been a month and I am still devastated by your loss. The world is a sadder place without your presence. My prayers awre with Cindy,Kevin & Molly.

  5. Manny Cortes

    I remember Keith taking off his gloves and ready to go at it since he knew Karate. Even thou I was a Rangers fan it still was a great era for hockey.

  6. Janice Parrigon

    Thinking of you this evening and my heart aches. Janice Parrigon (was Pollick), and Dayna and Landon Pollick (Lake Forest High)all have you in their thoughts.

  7. bob walker

    I am getting ready to play hockey again (I’m 46), I have been “retired” from playing and coaching for a few years. I have always been a Detroit fan since I was born in Michigan, but I was reared in Chicagoland, and I always loved Keith Magnuson. I mostly remember him dropping the gloves and skating away with a bloody mouth, which was smiling before long.
    I saw my first pro game when I was about 11 or 12 in one of the Bruins/Blackhawks playoffs games – my dad’s friend had two seats about 12 rows back, and two seats on the glass in the corner. My little brother and I sat on the glass, we were going to trade seats later in the game, but of course, the grownup let us sit there the entire game.
    What a thrill – I remember Bobby Hull skating by and smiling right at us with his teeth out. We saw Dennis Hull, the Esposito’s, Orr, Sanderson, Makita – all the great names from my days, and of course Keith.
    I started my son in hockey when he was 4, and he just finished high school hockey. And when I started playing organized hockey, I asked for #3, because of Keith. I got #33, #3 was taken.
    Well, I am playing again, and I got #3 this time.
    So, Keith, there is an old, crummy hockey player in Phoenix that misses you, last time I was you on TV was at one of the old timers NHL all-star games. God bless you and you family.
    Bob Walker
    Hoping to live up to the legacy of #3.

  8. Mike Spiziri

    I’m 46 now. I grew up watching Keith, Tony O., The Golden Jet and Stan Makita. What a terrible loss for all of us. Thanks for all the memories, Keith, and may you live on in spirit!

  9. steven eichberg

    I grew up with the DU hockey team and have fond meories of Magnuson, Wiste and others. A great player who gave me a love for the game, he will be missed.

  10. Dan macGillivray

    Just Heard the news , was watching Maine play DU.
    So sad i rember Keith & Bobby Orr going at it. I’m a bruin fan but always loved Chicago Blackhawks. Keith we’ll always be rembered.
    God Bless & happy easter

  11. Paul Nichols

    I went to D.U.from 65 to 69 and didn’t miss any hockey games. Everyone was so proud of Keith going from our national title team to starting for the Blackhawks. I’ll always remember him sliding in front of slap shots. Fabulous on the ice he was also a really nice guy off it. I remember a spring vacation in Mexico seeing Keith and several other guys from the team having the times of their lives. A real positive person, may the four winds blow you safely home.

  12. LaTisha

    I am very saddened by this news i worked at Coca-Cola for several years as the receptionist, and Keith would often talk and joke with me, i also became friends with his daughter Molly, and called her my sister, i am truly sorry and my prayers go out to his family,

  13. richard v. berger

    i grew up watching keith , he was one of the tuffist hockey players i have ever known.i have an autographed hockey cardfrom keith. he was a true hockey hero. he will truly be missed by me and the hockey world. richard berger

  14. Steve Eisele

    Kevin, Cindy, Molly, It took me quite a while to send this note. I remember as a lad growing up near St. Louis listening to my Blackhawks on the radio. The great calls of Lloyd Pettit and the tremendous efforts each night of #3. My sons and I were fortunate to meet Kevin many years later when you played in Richmond and in Roanoke. Having only seen Keith as he dashed from the old Arena to the team bus following a game, but never getting a chancee to actually speak with him, I am certain after meeting you that your father was of similiar demeanor with his fans. When you passed along your dad’s address so I could send some items to be autographed I was amazed. But I must tell you that I felt that I had intruded and never did mail anything to him. My sons still have your stick that you had given me for them from when you were with Roanoke. like many other fan’s of your father I too am deeply saddendby his untimely passing. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
    Steve Eisele

  15. Ashley Ramage

    I don’t know you that well but my uncle…. well at least that is what i called him uncle Robbie. But he talked about you all the time i mean how nice and curtious you are and how you and him always had some good memory to look back to and laugh. But now i know that all he has are the memories left but just to tell you i know that to my uncle Robbie you are still alive and with us and participating in all the things that we do. I want to thank you for being that one good friend that my robbie can rely on (b/t/w we will always consider you part of our family). WE LOVE U KEITH!!!!!!! and always will

  16. Andy Abramson

    The news of Keith’s tragic passing only reached me recently. To say I was shocked was an understatement. Keith was a friend, who over the last few years I had lost touch with following the end of a ten year run with the Celebrity All Star Hockey Team, which I served as General Manager.
    Over the years I knew “Maggie” there are three moments that stood out in my mind.
    First was his agreement to come to Philadelphia in 1988, my last real project for the Flyers whom I worked for 13 years.
    The second was a trip where the late Professor Tanaka on our ride back to the hotel said loudly “I want a redhead tonight” and unknowingly a few second later Keith walked on the bus and sat down next to the Professor, much to his chagrin, Maggie for a few seconds was the playful Professor’s redhead.
    The last one was the biggest touch of class I ever saw in hockey. It was at our event in Philadelphia in 1988 and there was a crash at center ice. Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and Maggie had “bumped” into one another. Like the days of old the two glared at each other, dropped the gloves, did a little squaring off, and then shook hands. It looked so real that some of the players on both teams actually though Schultz had lost it and that Maggie was ready to oblige.
    To Keith’s family, friends and most of all, his teammates, I join you in expressing my condoances.

  17. Berny Buta

    I just found this site but I had learned of Keith’s death just a few months ago. I was very saddened by the news. I had season tickets to the Blackhawks for a few years there during Keith’s time and he was my favorite the way he always came out first after the breaks and skated around the ice as hard as he could he gave everything he had to that game. Cindy my sympathy goes out to you. If you remember I was married to Julie who worked across the hall from you at 1 N Wacker Dr when you worked with Molly and I still think of both of you and it is nice to see you named you Daughter Molly.
    Berny Buta

  18. peter t. notaro


  19. Keith Schulz

    I was named after Keith Magnuson. My parents raised me and my brothers in the western suburbs of Chicago from 1969 through the 80s. Blackhawk fans all from the day we were born, my parents chose my name because Keith Magnuson stood for hard work, allegiance, and keeping the ones close to you safe. My dad always taught my brothers and I the valuable lesson of standing up for what you thought was right and used Keith as a prime example of that. Keith never backed down from anyone and always stuck up for his teammates. The main reason he earned the Captain’s ‘C’ and was so highly regarded by his teammates. I don

  20. David Van Dyke

    I just now have learned of Keith’s passing and would like to say how disturbing this was for me.
    My brother Bill was a pure hockey fan and had made friends with some of the DU players in the late sixties. Watching Keith practice his skills on the ice was poetry in motion, and his dedication to his team was truly inspiring for me.
    Wiste, Cliff, Mike D. and all the other of his friends were truly the best athletes I have ever known. If all of us would emanate Keith’s dedication, the world would be a better place.
    My condolences to his family.

  21. Millie

    I met Keith on February 5th, 1970 and continue to celebrate that meeting to this day as it totally changed my life in a profound way.
    I was impressed by his skill on the ice, by his ability to protect and defend his teammates every single night regardless of the consequences and most of all by his dedication to his fans.
    There are few people in the world who leave that kind of footprint on your heart. I felt like a piece of me died the day the world lost Keith but I keep the memory of his kindnesses close at hand.
    He was a cherished friend to me in my youth and I know I will never have another like him. He will be forever loved and forever missed!
    TO KEITH, love and kisses,
    Your forever friend,

  22. Doug

    I went to bed, woke up thinking about the old days when I listened on the radio for the blackhawk games.
    Thought about all the old players and was wondering what they are doing now.
    The first one, the only one, I looked up was Keith Magnuson.
    I wished I didn’t. I’d rather of been left assuming he was still alive.
    I’m sad tonight. I’ve spent the evening reading about his life. We should all be proud of him. He deserved to stay longer.
    From someone you never met Keith and yet, left a strong impression.
    My prayers are with you.

  23. Clare

    Keith was an incredible person and a father we all idolized. I cannot begin to understand the loss the Magnusons have felt as their patriarch was great. I am just lucky to have known him a little bit and am thankful for that. My thoughts are with the Magnusons as they come closer to the 3rd anniversary of his passing.

  24. booksdates

    “Magie” was all class. I am a booking agent and Keith helped me find a current player for a meet and greet. He worked for Coke Bottling Co. and was incredibly friendly to me over the phone and gave me direct credentials for some of the top names in the biz. Several years later I heard of his death and was saddened. God Bless him and his family and friends. Peace.

  25. Patti Magnuson Ashman

    Cindy, I wanted to send you my sincere sympathy 4 years ago, after I heard of Keith’s passing. I just didn’t know how to contact you. I found this website and thought, per chance, you might read it and know that I have been thinking of you. We joked at our high school reunion that Keith and I were probably related somewhere down the line. I doubt that but, I could tell by how you looked at each other that you two had something really special. After all, he nabbed the prettiest girl in our class! Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you and your children are in my thoughts this Holiday season. May the warm memories of the past bring you comfort and strength.
    Patti Magnuson Ashman, Maine South Class of ’70

  26. Scando

    I remember Keith always getting in fights, never winning any, but never backing down from anyone, even the Broad Street Bullies, Schultz, & co. The Orr fight was the classic, he got his butt kicked but went to the penalty box with a smile on his face, and inspired his team: “Hell if Keith can take an asskicking, we can ramp it up a notch!!” he was an ispiration to all the gritty, tough, little sob’s out there!

  27. Todd Beelby

    I grew up in Saskatoon and lived right across the Street from Keith’s sister Meridel. Two of her children Mark and Laurel were my best friends. I remember Keith coming home in the summer time and we would sit on his back while he did push-ups. He was always working out staying in awesome shape. Even when he would come to our house and sit around in the backyard, he would be rolling up a weight on a string, strengthening his wrists. I always followed the Blackhawks when he played for them or coached. I am always thinking of Keith and his immediate family since the accident and am wishing you all the best.

  28. Ray Kellner

    I learned about the passing of Keith just now from reading the internet. I am an old hockey fan and I loved the Blackhawks of yesterday, I loved the hockey of yesterday. Hockey was better in those days because the players were gritty and had character. Keith was as tough as they came. I was so angry when Montreal beat the Blackhawks in game 7 so many years ago. I lived and died with every shot on Tony-O and Dryden. I still hate it to this day, and I still love the Blackhawks. They don’t make them like Keith anymore.

  29. Guy Walker- 2nd cousin to Keith

    My Mom’s cousin is Keith Magnuson and i had the chance to meet him only twice in my life. Each time I met him he always took a few moments after telling his hockey tales to listen to my own and how i also wore #3- still do.
    I still cherish the cards he signed for me and have them framed next to the Sports Illustrated where he was on the cover.

  30. Daniel morgan

    i will never forget keith he was one of my favorite players of all time. and he will be sorely missed, i even got a magnuson shirtto keep his memory alive . he is fighting for gods team now

  31. allan k

    i remembermaggie for many years in chitown never will there ever be another number 3 in hawk history even though i idolised bobby orr maggie was number 2

  32. Mike B

    I was younger than Maggie but he was a personal friend of our family as I grew up (Maggie was the same age as my older brother). I am now 56 years old and I still remember Churchill schools outdoor rink and how Keith used skate and carry me with my arms outspread like an airplane. Or, him carrying me on his shoulders. Every young person in this world should have a “big” brother like Keith. Although I never saw him after his first year with Chicago, he has always been in my thoughts as a great person…. and btw you proponents of thinking Keith was a fighter.. he wasn’t…. he was a protector. Thank-you Keith for being you.

  33. Sandi Slider

    I was rembering all the games I went to and I was also a member of the Blackhawk Standby Club. I was lucky enough to meet Keith and had him and Cliff Koral autograph my hockey stick. Keith was a fantastic person to watch on the ice and was always great to his fans. Miss his smiling face.

  34. Stan

    I remember Keith when I was a young boy growing up and always admired him giving at least 110% on the ice via blocking shots, nailing opponents into the boards and never backing down from a fight. I actually followed Keith’s footsteps playing high school hockey, blocking shots, nailing opponents into the boards but, fighting was not allowed, darn! My team mates used to tell me that I ran on oil because I would never run out of energy. I wore his #3 on my first very own Blackhawk jersy my dad bought me. My dad said I had his red hair and was bow legging like him but I never gave that much thought, I just new he was my idol and someone to look up to. I watched the ceremony for Keith tonight on TV and it did bring tears to my eyes, a well missed true human being. I just have to mention again that I wore #3 on my Blackhawks jersey and Keith’s best Cliff Korel wore #20 and it is so ironic, I wore #20 when I played high school hockey, and this brought more tears to my eyes because even now I feel like I was more closer to Keith than ever before. I sure wish he was alive today to appreciate himself being honored tonight at the United Center when faceoff should start shortly between the Blackhawks and the Bruins.

  35. Mike C

    I grew up in Milwaukee and hated chicago but loved the Blackhawks of the 60s and 70s. I especially loved Keith Magnuson! I often wonder if they just don’t make players like keith anymore or if the game has just past me by. This guy epitomized professional hockey. I will always remember KEITH MAGNUSON!!!

  36. Jennifer in Arizona

    I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and was “raised” a Blackhawks fan. Keith Magnuson was my favorite. My memories of him surrounded fighting, blood and excitement. Since moving to Arizona as a teenager, I lost touch with the sport of hockey, though I thought of Keith and the Blackhawks often. When I googled his name this evening, I was shocked to discover that he had passed away 5 years ago. It is difficult to imagine this world without such a bright light as Keith in it.

  37. Cheryl

    I don’t care if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, hockey will NEVER be the same without Keith Magnuson. Anyone who is a Blackhawk fan knows Keith Magnuson. Keith and Cliff Koroll are the reason I became interested in hockey and I’m proud to say we all became friends. Keith was always there. I remember when he had a broken jaw and he still made a personal appearance at a Jewel store. Though his mouth was wired shut he tried to say something to each person. Keith always treated me wonderfully. I will always cherish the things Keith & Cindy sent me. Keith will always remain in my heart! He’s up in Heaven looking down on his Blackhawks, with those big lips, right Cliff??

  38. dianegray

    i met you at an autographed signing just outside chicago and was kind of were taller than i thought and a gentleman all the way.i never forgot put me at ease and i underestood what happened on the ice stayed there. it was an honor to get your autograph and shake your hand, mr. magnuson and may you rest in peace.

  39. JoAnn Fontana

    I remember how sadden I was hear to hear about Keith’s unexpected death. Growing up Keith was my hero and idol. I was ten years younger and went to every personal appearance possible. my friends and I rode our bikes to Keith’s home all the time. One year we bought him real live chicks named Keith and Cliff. Another year we brought him a cross that was engraved “Bring on the Christians” supposedly he told us that was what he said when he shook those knees prior to a face off. He called me at my grammer school graduation party. Keith was always a gentlemen and a true hero to me. Although I am thrilled with the hawks recent placement it makes me sad that he isn’t here. I’d love to know if anyone remembers him wearing that cross. JoAnn

  40. WALSH Stephen JeffreyGuitarmanWALSH

    I do rennet seeing my Ist backwaks game
    and I was in the older stadium. I remember
    I thing clearly-I was boy- when iaw redheaded
    Magnouson.@an opposing hockey player
    filing it out. Ya see they didNOT stop the fight
    then till one fell down-Now truth I saw Mag
    having a mag brawl-I rember a 2 1/2 puddle
    of blood. While Magnouson fight eachother they did
    Not stop it. Even tho the two. Held on and
    punched the living daylights outta eachother
    for about 3 minutes. This I will never forget
    these faux- it’s all changed.I took e 20 mins ta
    put this up. I alwayz knee that texting while
    driving was bad. He’ll it’s a damn shame.I hope
    that nimrod who hit Kieth gets full punishment
    I don’t knowwhat caused it>But only life on earth
    has a timetable. Keith Magnouson. Is happy
    watching. His Blackhawks. Go for the Stanley cup
    Go Hawks!!!!!!

  41. Teresa

    As we prepare to honor the Blackhawks with a parade this morning, I proudly wear my #3 Magnuson jersey. He was my idle and I know he would have been pleased to see the Stanley Cup in Chicago after a long absence. Rest in Peace Maggie we miss you!

  42. Arlene

    My father was terminal with cancer in 1972. One of our most beloved pictues of him is with Keith Magnuson when Keith visited the Veterans Memorial hospital in Chicago.What a find young man to take time to do that. Also, my sister, who passed away too young, used to stomp the floor upstairs in the bedroon when the Black Hawks (pre 1980’s spelling) scored as she listed to the Blackhawk games on the radio (circa late 60’s-70’s no TV). Keith was one of the new “enforcers” that are now common in the game. He was a renovator. I am so glad his contribution was recognized during the Blackhawks celebration of the Stanley Cup win. Tradition does mean something. It was nice to see the family represented. (Ok..we were Keith and Cliff Korell groupies) We did the standing room only at the old Chicago Statium. But Keith, a class act.

  43. Millie

    I met Keith in 1970 and remained friends with him until I moved to Arizona to go to college in 1975. He was always such a good friend and my family and I just adored him.
    Everyone who knew me from the old days and still knows me today commented when the Hawks won the cup that it was the ultimate birthday gift (they won on the eve of my birthday) and that Keith, no doubt, had a hand in it.
    I miss you dear friend.

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