Chris Chelios
Chelios March 2007 01
Position Defense
Shot Right
5 ft 11 in (1.8 m)
191 lb (87 kg)
Teams Montreal Canadiens
Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Atlanta Thrashers
Born January 25 1962 (1962-01-25) (age 58),
Chicago, IL, USA
NHL Draft 40th overall, 1981
Montreal Canadiens
Pro Career 1983 – 2010

Chris Chelios (pronounced /ˈtʃɛli.oʊs/; born Christos Kostas Tselios on January 25, 1962) is a retired American professional ice hockey defenseman. He is currently the Executive Adviser to Ken Holland, the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings.

Chelios played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and Atlanta Thrashers. When he was called up from the AHL's Chicago Wolves to play for the Thrashers during the 2009–10 NHL season, Chelios was the oldest active player in the NHL - and the second oldest of all time - had played the most games of any active player in the NHL, was the last player from the 1981 NHL Entry Draft still active (or any draft from 1986 and earlier), and had the most career penalty minutes of any active player. On November 24, 2006, he played in his 1,496th NHL game, the most of any American-born player, passing the record total of Phil Housley. In the 2008–09 season, he appeared in the playoffs for an NHL record 24th time, having missed the playoffs only twice (1997–98 and 2009–10) in his entire career. Chelios is of Greek heritage. His cousin, Nikos Tselios, has also played professional hockey and is a former first round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.

On August 31, 2010, he announced his official retirement and will be taking a front office job for his former team, the Detroit Red Wings.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Early years Edit

Chelios was raised in Evergreen Park, Illinois and was a standout youth hockey player. He briefly attended Mount Carmel High School, but moved to Southern California in 1977. Attending San Diego's Mira Mesa High School until his graduation in 1979, Chelios has been honored in the Marauders' Hall of Fame. Unable to play high school hockey in Southern California, Chelios wasn’t recruited by any U.S. colleges. His only scholarship offer came from local San Diego-based U.S. International University, the only NCAA Division I hockey team west of the Rockies. But when Chelios arrived on campus as a freshman in 1979 he soon realized he was in the wrong environment, facing bigger players with considerably more junior hockey experience. He was eventually cut from the team and considered quitting hockey.[2] Instead, he tried his luck in Canada, where he was twice cut by Junior B teams in Canada and hit a low point when he had to borrow money from strangers to get home to California one year. Chelios said, "I wasn't any bigger or any better than the other guys, so they weren't going to take a kid from the States when they could have a local guy."

He returned home and grew three inches while adding 40 pounds of muscle. He was then drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to that, he played for the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where he tallied 87 points and 175 penalty minutes in just 54 games in his final season. Chelios enjoyed two strong years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison after being drafted. As one of the top collegiate players in the country, he was selected for the United States at the 1981–82 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. In 1983, he was part of the Badgers' NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship team and was named to the all-tournament team and the second WCHA all-star team.

Chelios was a member of the U.S. Olympic team for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. After that he made his debut for the Canadiens, playing 12 games in the regular season and 15 in the playoffs. That summer he joined the U.S. team at the 1984 Canada Cup. He wore number 24 in Montreal,Detroit and Atlanta but number 7 with the Chicago Blackhawks and Wolves.

Montreal CanadiensEdit

In 1984, he made the Montreal Canadiens for good, and distinguished himself with his play. He earned a trip to the National Hockey League All-Star Game and was named to the 1985 NHL All-Rookie Team. He scored 64 points in 74 games, a high total for a defenseman, even in the higher-scoring 1980s. He came second to Mario Lemieux for the Calder Memorial Trophy. In the playoffs that year, he scored 10 points in 9 games, with a +17 plus/minus. Although he only played 41 games in the 1985-1986 season, he won his first Stanley Cup, playing in front of Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Roy. His play got him the nickname "Soft Hands Chelios."

Following two more good seasons, Chelios really broke out in the 1988-1989 season. He scored 73 points in 80 games at +35, was named to the All-Star First-Team, and won the James Norris Memorial Trophy. During that year's Wales Conference (now Eastern Conference) Finals series against the Philadelphia Flyers (which the Canadiens won in six games), Chelios became reviled by Flyer fans for a dirty hit on Brian Propp that left the Philadelphia winger with a serious concussion and forced him to miss the next game. For the remainder of the series, the Flyers did not retaliate against Chelios until finally, after the series fate was sealed late in Game 6, Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall memorably skated out of his net to attack Chelios.

After playing only 53 games in the next season (in which he served as co-captain, with Guy Carbonneau), on June 29, 1990, Chelios was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks with a 2nd-round draft pick for Denis Savard, who is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Chicago BlackhawksEdit

In his first season with Chicago, he continued to score at his usual rate, tallying 64 points, and earned a spot on the Second NHL All-Star Team. Chelios would help lead the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1992, before being swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was in top form for the 1992-1993 season, scoring 73 points and won another Norris Trophy.

During the 1994–95 NHL lockout he played for EHC Biel in the Swiss National League A.[3]

In 1995–96, Chelios would have another great season for the Blackhawks, scoring 73 points and winning his third Norris Trophy. When the Summer of 1996 rolled around, he would help lead the United States to its biggest international hockey win since the 1980 Winter Olympics, beating Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey final series and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Chelios was captain of the Blackhawks from 1995 to 1999.

Detroit Red WingsEdit

At 37, Chelios could still help teams with his veteran leadership and his largely-remaining talent. On March 23, 1999, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Anders Eriksson and two first-round draft picks.

The move to Detroit, where he had fewer responsibilities and more skilled teammates, helped keep Chelios playing at close to his peak level. In 2002, his +40 plus/minus led the league, and he was again named to the First All-Star Team. He also led the United States hockey team to a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics, and was named to the Tournament's All-Star Team. His season culminated in the Red Wings' victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals, giving Chelios his second Stanley Cup.

Chris chelios

In 2004, because of the cancellation of the NHL season, Chelios, along with fellow Red Wing teammates Derian Hatcher and Kris Draper, decided to play hockey for the Motor City Mechanics, a UHL team based out of Fraser, Michigan. He was heavily criticized for this decision as the UHL has a maximum salary in place, but at the same time he was strongly against a salary cap in the NHL. In October 2004 he trained with the U.S. bobsled federation in a bid to compete for the Greek bobsled team at the 2006 Winter Olympics. While Chelios didn't compete in the bobsled, he did captain the USA hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

On August 4, 2005, the 43-year-old re-signed with the Red Wings for a one-year contract. On May 24, 2006, Chelios re-signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings. On July 3, 2006, Chelios became the active leader for most games played upon the retirement of teammate Steve Yzerman. On April 21, 2007, he became the oldest defenseman to score a short-handed goal in the NHL in a playoff game against the Calgary Flames.

Chelios was the captain of the US Olympic Hockey Team that played at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. By participating in ice hockey at the 2006 Winter Olympics, Chelios set a new standard, by becoming the first player to take part in an Olympic ice hockey tournament, twenty-two years after he played in his first.[4] The old record was set by Swiss hockey player Bibi Torriani who had played twenty years after his debut (1928 and 1948).

Chelios re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for the 2007–08 season. On January 8, 2008, Chelios became the second oldest player in the history of the NHL, at 45 years, 348 days, passing Moe Roberts. Only Gordie Howe, who played until age 52, was older. On April 12, 2008, Chelios played in his 248th playoff game, breaking the NHL record set by Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy. Later that season, Chelios also became the oldest active player to win the Stanley Cup.

Chelios signed another one-year contract with the Red Wings for the 2008–09 season. On December 5, 2008, Chelios played in his first of two games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League (AHL) farm club for the Red Wings, as part of a conditioning stint. At 46 years of age, he became the oldest player in the 73-year history of the AHL.[5] At the conclusion of the 2008–09 season, Chelios was a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Chicago Wolves and Atlanta ThrashersEdit

After the Red Wings announced that they would not be re-signing Chelios,[6] he signed a 25-game pro try-out contract with Chicago Wolves.[7] After a second 25-game pro tryout contract with the Wolves,[8] Chelios then signed a two-way contract with the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta kept him with the Wolves until he was recalled to the Thrashers,[9] hoping that he could provide a spark for the team's playoff hopes.[10] He played in seven games for the Thrashers, but failed to score any points.[11] On April 6, 2010, the Thrashers lost a game against the Devils that they had to win, in order to reach the playoffs, which meant that the Thrashers missed the 2010 playoffs. On April 7, 2010, Chelios was sent back to the Wolves.[10][12]

On August 31, 2010, Chelios officially retired. He will work with the Detroit Red Wings in the development of new players.[1]

Front OfficeEdit

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced that Chelios would be hired to work in the Red Wings' front office. He was named Executive Adviser to the General Manager and will also work with Wings' defense prospects.[10][13][14]


Chelios has two restaurant/bars in Dearborn (opened in 2003) and Detroit (opened in 2006), Michigan (Cheli's Chili Bar I and Cheli's Chili Bar II). In 2008, he opened a third location in Clinton Township, Michigan. He previously owned a Cheli's Chili Bar on West Madison in Chicago, near the United Center, but this closed after his move to the Red Wings.

On January 2, 2007, two employees of Cheli's in Detroit were fatally stabbed. Megan Soroka, 49, was a manager at the restaurant and Mark Barnard, 52, was a chef. Police arrested Justin Blackshere, 17, who allegedly confessed to the crime. He was a busboy at the restaurant and was fired in November 2006. Blackshere's pregnant girlfriend had also been fired from her job as a dishwasher. Blackshere was found guilty of murder in the first degree on August 22, 2007. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole on September 7, 2007.[15] Chelios took a leave of absence from the Detroit Red Wings to help the families of his murdered employees. He said, "I'll come back when I feel ready and the families feel ready. I'm just going to try to get through this day by day with everybody."[16] On January 9, 2008, the Red Wings announced that Chelios would be playing that night.[17]


Career statisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts +/- PIM GP G A Pts +/- PIM
1978–79 Moose Jaw Canucks SJHL 24 3 16 19 68
1979–80 Moose Jaw Canucks SJHL 53 12 31 42 118
1980–81 Moose Jaw Canucks SJHL 54 23 64 87 175
1981–82 Wisconsin Badgers WCHA 43 6 43 49 50
1982–83 Wisconsin Badgers WCHA 45 16 32 48 62
1983–84 Montreal Canadiens NHL 12 0 2 2 -5 12 16 1 9 10 3 17
1984–85 Montreal Canadiens NHL 74 9 55 64 11 87 9 2 8 10 2 17
1985–86 Montreal Canadiens NHL 41 8 26 34 4 67 20 2 9 11 3 49
1986–87 Montreal Canadiens NHL 71 11 33 44 -5 124 17 4 9 13 -1 38
1987–88 Montreal Canadiens NHL 71 20 41 61 14 172 11 3 1 4 3 29
1988–89 Montreal Canadiens NHL 80 15 58 73 35 185 21 4 15 19 2 28
1989–90 Montreal Canadiens NHL 53 9 22 31 20 136 5 0 1 1 -4 8
1990–91 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 77 12 52 64 23 192 6 1 7 8 2 46
1991–92 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 80 9 47 56 24 245 18 6 15 21 19 37
1992–93 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 84 15 58 73 14 282 4 0 2 2 -1 14
1993–94 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 76 16 44 60 12 212 6 1 1 2 0 8
1994–95 EHC Biel Swiss-A 3 0 3 3 4
1994–95 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 48 5 33 38 17 72 16 4 7 11 6 12
1995–96 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 81 14 58 72 25 140 9 0 3 3 2 8
1996–97 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 72 10 38 48 16 112 6 0 1 1 -2 8
1997–98 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 81 3 39 42 -7 151
1998–99 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 65 8 26 34 -4 89
1998–99 Detroit Red Wings NHL 10 1 1 2 5 4 10 0 4 4 -6 14
1999–00 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 3 31 34 48 103 9 0 1 1 -3 8
2000–01 Detroit Red Wings NHL 24 0 3 3 4 45 5 1 0 1 -1 2
2001–02 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 6 33 39 40 126 24 1 13 14 15 44
2002–03 Detroit Red Wings NHL 66 2 17 19 4 78 4 0 0 0 -3 2
2003–04 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 2 19 21 12 61 8 0 1 1 1 4
2004–05 Motor City Mechanics UHL 23 5 19 24 13 25
2005–06 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 4 7 11 22 108 6 0 0 0 2 6
2006–07 Detroit Red Wings NHL 71 0 11 11 11 34 18 1 6 7 7 12
2007–08 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 3 9 12 11 36 14 0 0 0 2 10
2008–09 Detroit Red Wings NHL 28 0 0 0 1 18 6 0 0 0 0 2
2008–09 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 2 0 1 1 0 2
2009–10 Chicago Wolves AHL 46 5 17 22 34 24 14 0 0 0 0 12
2009–10 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 7 0 0 0 -2 2
NHL totals 1651 185 763 948 350 2891 268 31 113 144 48 423

International playEdit

Olympic medal record
Men's ice hockey
Silver 2002 Salt Lake City Ice hockey

His only Olympic medal came from the 2002 Salt Lake games, winning the Silver losing to team Canada. Chelios played a key role in the Team USA win over Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He captained the US team in 2004 World Cup of Hockey where the USA lost in its semi-final to Finland. He retired from international play holding the record for most games played (47) for any country in Best-on-best hockey.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. Chelios calls it a (great) career at 48, Cotton Boll Conspiracy, Sept. 1, 2010
  4. IIHF Top 100 Hockey Stories of All Time, Szymon Szemberg and Andrew Podnieks, p.120, Fenn Publishing, Bolton, Ontario, Canada, 2008, ISBN 978-1-55168-358-4
  5. "CHELIOS SETS AHL RECORD IN GRIFFINS LOSS TO MARLIES", TSN,, 2008-12-05. Retrieved on 2008-12-06. 
  6. Holland: Chelios is not returning to Wings. Associated Press (2009-06-23). Retrieved on 2009-06-28.
  7. "47-YEAR OLD CHELIOS SIGNS WITH AHL'S WOLVES; TO DEBUT FRIDAY", TSN,, 2009-10-20. Retrieved on 2009-10-20. 
  8. "another 25 game tryout, which would bring the total to 50 games.",, 2009-12-28. Retrieved on 2009-12-28. 
  9. LeBrun, Pierre (2010-03-10). 48-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios called up by Atlanta Thrashers. Retrieved on 2010-03-11.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 AP. "Chris Chelios Sent Down to Minor Leagues",, 7 April 2010. Retrieved on 26 april 2010. 
  11. - Chris Chelios. Retrieved on 26 April 2010.
  12. Morreale, Mike G.. Thrashers send Chelios back to AHL. National Hockey League. Retrieved on 2010-04-07.
  13. Fox Reports Detroit (6 August 2010). Report: Chris Chelios retiring. ESPN Chicago. Retrieved on 7 August 2010.
  14. Malik, George. Now Red Wings executive Chelios discusses job description. Retrieved on 2010-08-09.
  15. ESPN - Ex-busboy sentenced to life for slayings in Chelios' Detroit restaurant - NHL
  16. [1]
  17. ESPN - Chelios returning to Red Wings on Tuesday night - NHL
  18. Top Level Hockey World Rankings - Players. EVCco (2010-03-21). Retrieved on 2010-11-04.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Peter Laviolette
US Men's Olympic Hockey Team Captain
1998, 2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Jamie Langenbrunner
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Dirk Graham
Chicago Blackhawks captains
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Doug Gilmour
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Bob Gainey
Montreal Canadiens captains
Co-captains with Guy Carbonneau
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Guy Carbonneau
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Paul Coffey
Winner of the Norris Trophy
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Brian Leetch
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Brian Leetch
Winner of the Norris Trophy
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Ray Bourque
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Ray Bourque
Winner of the Norris Trophy
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Ray Bourque
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Winner of the NHL Plus/Minus Award
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