Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita has been diagnosed with oral cancer, the NHL announced on Tuesday.
The cancer is considered to be in its Stage 1 phase, meaning the disease has been caught in its early stages, leaves plenty of room for optimism from the No. 21 fans around the world.
"Stan has been diagnosed with an early base of tongue cancer and the prognosis is excellent," Dr. Richard Borrowdale of Loyola Medical Center said in a release from the team. "He will be treated with external beam radiation therapy."
Mikita began his professional hockey career with the Blackhawks in 1958 at just 18 years of age and played 22 seasons with the team before retiring following the 1979-80 season.
During his career in Chicago, Mikita ended up with four Art Ross trophies (most points in a season), two Hart Memorial trophies (regular season MVP), two Lady Byng trophies (sportsmanship) while also being a nine-time NHL All-Star and helping lead the Blackhawks to the 1961 championship.
Mikita, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983 and has had his jersey retired by the team since the legend himself retired, is scheduled to have a trophy built in his honor this summer in front of the United Center.