Chris Chelios’ storybook NHL career ended two years ago and he’s still not quite sure what he wants to dedicate himself to in this new chapter of his life — but that doesn’t mean he’s been passive.
Chelios is spending his weekdays with Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, giving the young players the benefit of his 26-season long pro career, according to MLive.com.
“Cheli’s a part of our coaching staff as far as deciding who is going to play and how we’re going to play,” Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s invested in the team, no question.
“When I got the job, I said to myself that I wanted to make sure Cheli knew that I wanted him to be here as much as he can. He said he’d love to continue to do what he did before, and expand that as time permits.”
Chelios hasn’t completely given himself to the Griffins yet. His weekends are reserved for attending his sons’ hockey games with Michigan State and he cited his kids as one of the key reasons why he hasn’t completely committed himself to his current or a new path.
That’s his choice and there’s nothing wrong with it, but at some point he might decide that he wants a bigger role with a hockey team. He’s already been moving in that direction by taking on more responsibilities this season, but he still still not done weighing his options.
“I’m still not quite sure what I want to do, as far as management or coaching,” Chelios said. “But right now I’m leaning in that (coaching) direction. To learn from Blash and be around (assistant coach) Jimmy Paek, it’s a great way to get experience.
“It’s all new to me even though I played so many years. Coaching is just a whole different ballgame.”
So for now he’ll stick with Grand Rapids, where prospects like up-and-coming defenseman Brendan Smith are more than happy to learn from the legend.