We already discussed the fact that he would probably retire and join the Detroit Red Wings front office, but now it’s official. Get those old jokes out of your systems while you still can because Chris Chelios won’t play another game in the NHL.
Chris Chelios, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and three-time Norris Trophy winning defenseman, announced his retirement Tuesday after 26 seasons. Chelios played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers during his illustrious NHL career. He retires having played the most games by a defenseman in NHL history (1,651) and as the only player in league history to play in over 400 games for three different teams (Chicago-664, Detroit-578, Montreal-402).
Chelios will return to the Red Wings as Advisor to Hockey Operations. He will work closely with Detroit’s front office and coaching staffs, providing insight on a wide range of on-ice issues while helping to develop and mentor young players within the organization. He will also assist on the business operations side of the team, appearing at games and other functions to interact with fans and potential business partners.
It’s an understatement that Chelios played beyond his prime years, but make no mistake about it, he’s a Hall of Fame player and one of the greatest American-born players in hockey history. That NHL.com story details some of his greatest accomplishments.
Chelios’ accomplishments place him among the game’s all-time greats. He played the fourth-most regular season games in NHL history (1,651), the most postseason games in NHL history (266), he ranks second all-time among defensemen with 2,891 penalty minutes, eighth all-time among defensemen with 763 assists and 10th all-time among defensemen with 948 points (185-763-948). His postseason numbers include 144 points (tied seventh all-time among defensemen) and 423 PIM (first all-time among defensemen).
That’s a resume almost any NHL blueliner would love to have. Considering his reputation as one of the fittest – and most effective – players of his generation, the Red Wings are wise to see if he has the right stuff to help mold other players into future stars.
He might have been the victim of old jokes of varying quality, but Chelios did things his way. And that worked out pretty well for him, by the way.