Chelios gets well-deserved call to Hockey Hall of Fame

Chelios gets well-deserved call to Hockey Hall of Fame

July 9, 2013, 4:00 pm
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CHELIOS: 'HALL' OF A CAREER
Chris Chelios was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame Tuesday and it's not surprising. Check out the stats he ammassed over his long, successful NHL career:
SEASON
TEAM
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1983-84 Canadiens
12
0
2
2
12
1984-85 Canadiens
74
9
55
64
87
1985-86 Canadiens
41
8
26
34
67
1986-87 Canadiens
71
11
33
44
124
1987-88 Canadiens
71
20
41
61
172
1988-89 Canadiens
80
15
58
73
185
1989-90 Canadiens
53
9
22
31
136
1990-91 Blackhawks
77
12
52
64
192
1991-92 Blackhawks
80
9
47
56
245
1992-93 Blackhawks
84
15
58
73
282
1993-94 Blackhawks
76
16
44
60
212
1994-95 Blackhawks
48
5
33
38
72
1995-96 Blackhawks
81
14
58
72
140
1996-97 Blackhawks
72
10
38
48
112
1997-98 Blackhawks
81
3
39
42
151
1998-99 Blackhawks
65
8
26
34
89
1998-99 Red Wings
10
1
1
2
4
1999-00 Red Wings
81
3
31
34
103
2000-01 Red Wings
24
0
3
3
45
2001-02 Red Wings
79
6
33
39
126
2002-03 Red Wings
66
2
17
19
78
2003-04 Red Wings
69
2
19
21
61
2005-06 Red Wings
81
4
7
11
108
2006-07 Red Wings
71
0
11
11
34
2007-08 Red Wings
69
3
9
12
36
2008-09 Red Wings
28
0
0
0
18
2009-10 Thrashers
7
0
0
0
0
TOTALS  
1,651
185
763
948
2,891
I'm always going to say I'm from Chicago, and I'm proud of that fact.
Chris Chelios

Scott Niedermayer was asked about playing in the same era as fellow Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Chris Chelios, and couldn’t resist.

“I was part of one era. Chris was part of a few,” Niedermayer said with a laugh. It’s funny but true, and Chelios excelled in every one of those eras in which he played. And on Tuesday, Chelios received one more honor in a stellar career full of them.

Chelios was voted to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday, one of three former NHL players to get the honor. Chelios, along with Niedermayer, was inducted in his first year of eligibility. For Chelios, who would play for his hometown Blackhawks as well as the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings over his 26-year career, winning three Stanley Cups and three Norris trophies in the process, that Hall call was a thrill.

Even if it was a “bummer” that he was alone when he got that call.

“There’s no one in my house; everyone’s either at hockey or lacrosse camps,” said Chelios, whose son Jake is playing in the Blackhawks’ prospect camp this week. “Prior to the call, I didn’t answer a few times because my cell doesn’t work in the house. Prior to that I was getting calls from friends. I was getting nervous. Until it happens… the word ‘surreal’ comes to mind. It’s been a great day.”

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Brendan Shanahan was the third inducted in the Player category. Geraldine Heaney, who won gold with Canada’s women’s team in the 2002 Winter Olympics and Fred Shero, who led the Philadelphia Flyers to two Stanley Cups in the 1970s, were also inducted on Tuesday. The induction ceremony will be in Toronto in November.

Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, whose father Bill owned the team when Chelios played here, congratulated Chelios on his induction in a statement.

"Chris defined toughness, perseverance and commitment," Wirtz said. "We are grateful and proud that he spent so many years of his incredible playing career as a member of the Blackhawks."

Shanahan said playing with Chelios during those Detroit years was tremendous, and he still has a ton of respect for his former teammate.

“I can say that (with Chelios), there’s not another guy that comes to mind you consider going into a tough situation with that you want to have looking out for you and on your side,” Shanahan said. “It absolutely makes it more special going in with people that I not only played against, but also played with and got to know well.”

Chelios has talked about how fortunate he’s been in even getting his chance to play in the NHL. As he said, at the time he grew up in Chicago, it wasn’t exactly a “hotbed of hockey.” But as much as it’s about getting the opportunity, it’s also what you do with it. Chelios flourished when given his, playing in 1,651 games, a record for an NHL defenseman.

“Chris was one of the toughest guys to play against. He was always giving me a hard time on the ice, making my life miserable. Hopefully it’s not the same in Toronto,” Niedermayer said with a laugh. “He was going to do whatever to help his team win, whether it was a preseason game or Stanley Cup Final game. That’s what stands out to me (about Chelios).”

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Chelios still holds his Chicago roots dear to him – “I’m always going to say I’m from Chicago, and I’m proud of that fact,” he said. So is Detroit, where he raised his family and still works for the Red Wings. So was the ice, where he played so well and accomplished so much in, as Niedermayer said, so many eras.

And because of that, Chelios deserves his spot in the Hall.

“It’s a great honor, one of the highest honors any athlete can receive,” Chelios said. “It’s going to be a special (induction) night, come that time.”