Marian Hossa’s No. 81 never will be worn by a Blackhawks player again.
Hours after Hossa signed a ceremonial one-day contract Thursday to retire as a Hawk, the organization announced he will become the eighth player in team history to have his number retired.
Hossa’s number will join those of Glenn Hall (No. 1), Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson (who share No. 3), Bobby Hull (No. 9), Denis Savard (No. 18), Stan Mikita (No. 21) and Tony Esposito (No. 35) in the United Center rafters when the jersey retirement occurs in 2022-23.
‘‘I haven’t been in this building in almost four years until [Sunday],’’ Hossa said. ‘‘But today . . . I sat down and looked to the left and saw those names, and I still couldn’t believe my name next year is going to be up there. There’s only a handful of names on jerseys hanging, and Chicago has a history of [almost] 100 years. So, to me, that’s amazing. I’m losing words.’’
Hossa, 43, said he is working on finalizing a permanent role to work in the Hawks’ organization in ‘‘certain areas,’’ but he couldn’t provide details yet.
He played only 534 of his 1,309 career regular-season NHL games with the Hawks, but he nonetheless made a huge impact as arguably the best free-agent signing in team history.
His arrival in 2009-10 put the budding Hawks dynasty over the top en route to the first of their three Stanley Cups in six seasons, and he played integral roles in the 2013 and 2015 championships, too. He finished with 415 regular-season points and another 73 postseason points for the Hawks.
‘‘As a kid, you dream to play one day in the National Hockey League,’’ Hossa said. ‘‘Then your goal is to win the Stanley Cup. Your goal is not going in the rafters; your goal is not going to the Hall of Fame. But I guess somebody really liked my game over those years.’’
Hossa played his final NHL game for the Hawks in 2017, after which he retired because of a skin condition, although his contract later was dealt to the Coyotes. He said his condition has improved since then because he no longer needs to wear hockey equipment.
The Hawks’ decision to retire Hossa’s jersey provides the first glimpse of clarity about how they will handle the jersey retirements of the other members of the core of their dynasty.
Eliminated now is the theory they might hang one banner for everyone. And with Hossa chosen, it’s nearly certain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook eventually will have their numbers retired, too.
Corey Crawford, who only won two Cups but was instrumental in both, is probably now more likely than not to have his number retired. Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharp, who were important secondary contributors on all three Cup teams, sit on the bubble.
Hawks lose again
On the ice, the Hawks suffered their sixth consecutive loss in a lifeless 2-0 shutout at the hands of the Kraken.
‘‘[We had] no urgency, too many passengers,’’ interim coach Derek King said. ‘‘That’s it in a nutshell. [Goalie Kevin Lankinen] played a great game, but he had no support. And I’m going to have to address that.’’
The Hawks didn’t generate a single dangerous chance with nearly two full minutes of five-on-three time and nearly four minutes of power-play time at the end of the second period. It was a microcosm of their 60-minute sluggishness.
‘‘It’s not always going to be perfect,’’ King said. ‘‘But if you want to stay in this league, you better be consistent with your compete level. Right now, we have a bunch of guys who are not consistent with their compete level.’’