While he played for many teams, most hockey fans know Chris Chelios as one thing – a member of the Detroit Red Wings, where he played for 10 years. Now, 25 years in the NHL, Chelios is retiring. Here's a short look back at his great career.
When Chris Chelios began his hockey career in 1984, Phoenix didn't have a team and Florida was a place where hockey players took their families to vacation when the season was over.
The former Wisconsin badger played for the Montreal Canadiens in 1984 after playing for the U.S. Olympic team in Sarajevo, which wouldn't be the last time Chelios would be a member of Team Red, White, and Blue. Twenty-two years later, he would be on the U.S. Olympic team in Torino.
Chelios played with Montreal for six years, then he played for his hometown team, the Chicago Black Hawks, from 1990 until 1999.
Ironically, Chelios was traded to Chicago for Montreal native, Denis Savard, who is now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame – as a member of the Canadiens by the way.
Chelios was the Black Hawk's captain from 1995-1999.
In the 1994 hockey lockout season, Chelios continued to play, this time in Switzerland.
Most hockey fans, though, know Chelios as one thing – a member of the Detroit Red Wings, where he played for 10 years.
In another tough bit of irony, Detroit just happened to be the rivals of the Black Hawks, dating back to the "Original Six" days in hockey.
In 2008, at age 45, Chelios became the second oldest player to play in the league. Only hockey legend, Gordie Howe played longer at age 52.
Chelios did make a little hockey history of his own, though. When the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, he became the oldest active player to win a Stanley Cup. It would be his second.
When the 2010-2011 season begins, Chelios, who along with Red Wings, Mike Modano, would have been considered the "elder statesmen of U.S. hockey." But, this season, he won't be playing. He is retiring.
Most players retire because they want to spend more time with the kids. Chelios' "kids" are following in dad's footsteps. One son plays minor league hockey in Michigan, while another plays for the Michigan State Spartans hockey club.
In Chelios' case, he felt it was time to hang up the skates. What did Chelios owe his longevity to?
Not what you might think. It wasn't some new age medicine or some special athlete's diet, but stand up paddle surfing.
However, Chelios, who is known for being one of the most vocal players in the league, will still be back with the Red Wings, but not as a player. He will be in the front office.
Either way, Detroit fans and other hockey fans will still be saying, "Thanks for the memories, Chelly."