Earlier tonight we told you about how the Chicago Blackhawks would be honoring former Hawks defenseman and captain Chris Chelios. The Hawks brought out former Blackhawks luminaries like Denis Savard, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, as well as Jeremy Roenick to pay homage to the Norris Trophy winning blue liner.
Complicating matters with honoring Chelios tonight was that the game was against the Detroit Red Wings. Chelios was famously traded to Detroit in a deadline day deal back in 1999. The Hawks dealt him thinking his career was just about over. Instead, Chelios played for nine more seasons in Detroit and creating his own legacy there, a legacy so strong that upon his retirement before the start of this season he got a front office job with the Red Wings.
How would Chelios’ reception go over at the sold out United Center? Awkward. Check the video out from tonight’s ceremony.
All right so the “Detroit Sucks” chant was expected. Booing Chelios right as he’s about to start speaking, and even more so when he thanked former owner Bill Wirtz, was kind of expected but immensely foolish on the part of the fans that opted to do that. Chelios did his best to play goodwill ambassador.
Chelios addressed those who were booing him saying that he’s a proud Chicagoan like they are and that for the night they’re all on the same team. Savvy for Chelios to do that but a bit embarrassing for those fans just the same. We can understand fans being unhappy with Bill Wirtz as he did everything in his power to ruin the franchise. We can also understand some fans not enjoying seeing Chelios winning two Stanley Cups with the hated Red Wings, but as he said, “let bygones be bygones” and just appreciate the guy for what he did in the eight-and-a-half seasons in Chicago as a native of the city.