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Chris Chelios

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One of hockey’s greatest defensemen, Chris Chelios played 1651 NHL games over 25 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Redwings and the Atlanta Thrashers. Born in Chicago and raised in Evergreen Park, Illinois, Chelios moved with his family to San Diego as a teenager where he graduated from Mira Mesa Senior High School. After high school, Chelios would play briefly for San Diego’s United States International University before moving to Saskatchewan where he would play 3 seasons for the Moose Jaw Canucks of the SJHL. After his final season with Moose Jaw, the Montreal Canadiens drafted Chelios in the 2nd round of the 1981 NHL Draft. After being drafted by the Canadiens, Chelios played 2 years of college hockey for the Wisconsin Badgers before playing for team USA in the 1984 Olympics. After the Olympics, Chelios joined the Canadiens for the conclusion of the 1983/84 season, appearing in 12 regular season games and 16 playoff games. As a rookie in 1984/85, Chelios scored 64 points in 74 games and added 10 points in 9 playoff appearances. His strong rookie season earned him a 2nd place finish in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy, as the NHL top rookie, behind Mario Lemieux. Chelios would enjoy 5 more seasons with Montreal, where he played an integral part in Montreal’s 1986 Stanley Cup Championship and Chelios would win his first Norris Trophy as the NHL best defenseman in 1989. Traded to his hometown Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 1990, Chelios would play 9 seasons in the Windy City. While continuing to put up big numbers, Chelios helped lead the Blackhawks to the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals, ultimately losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chelios also won his 2nd and 3rd Norris Trophies in 1993 and 1996 as a member of the Blackhawks. Also in 1996, Chelios served as an alternate captain for Team USA for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, during which he helped lead the United States to victory and Chelios was named to the All-Tournament Team. Chelios also served as Chicago’s captain from 1995 until he was traded to the Detroit Redwings on March 23rd, 1999. Despite not joining the Red Wings until age 37, Chelios continued to play at a high level. During the 2001/02 sesson, Chelios led the NHL with a +40 rating, and was named to the NHL’s First All-Star team at the age 40. During that same season, Chelios captained team USA at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, and was subsequently named to the tournament’s All-Star team at the conclusion of the Olympics Games. Upon returning to Detroit, Chelios played an integral role in the Red Wings 2002 Stanley Cup championship. Chelios would return to the Olympics in 2006, where he would again captain Team USA in Torino. At the conclusion of the 2006 NHL season, Chelios became the NHL’s active leader in games played after the retirement of teammate Steve Yzerman. Chelios would hit several milestones during the 2007/08 season, becoming the 2nd oldest player in NHL history (behind Gordie Howe), appearing in a record setting 248th playoff games and becoming the oldest player to win the Stanley Cup after Detroit defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins to claim the 2008 Stanley Cup. Chelios would return for 1 last season with the Red Wings in 2008/2009, before signing with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, then the affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers. With the Thrashers making a push for the playoffs, they recalled Chelios to provide veteran leadership to a young team. Chelios would appear in 7 games with the Thrashers, before the team was eliminated from playoff contention. That 2009/10 season would prove to be the last, as Chelios retired at season’s end.