Chris Chelios
Born January 25, 1962 (1962-01-25) (age 58)
Chicago, Illinois
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 191 lb (87 kg; 13 st 9 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Right
Played for Montreal Canadiens
Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Atlanta Thrashers
National team Flag of the United States.svg United States
NHL Draft 40th overall, 1981
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1983–2010
Hall of Fame, 2013

Chris Chelios (born Christos Kostas Tselios on January 25, 1962) is a retired American professional ice hockey defenseman who is currently the Executive Advisor to Ken Holland, the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, a role that Steve Yzerman held before leaving to become general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Chris played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and the Atlanta Thrashers. When Chris was called up from the AHL's Chicago Wolves to play for the Thrashers during the 2009–10 NHL season, he 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.

Chris currently holds the record for most games played in the NHL by a defenseman and is fifth overall with 1,651, and is tied with Gordie Howe for most NHL seasons played with 26. 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, Chris 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. He is also the record-holder for most career postseason losses with 117 (also the most in any professional sport in North America).

On July 9, 2013, Chris was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Playing CareerEdit

Raised in Evergreen Park, Illinois, Chris was a standout youth hockey player. He briefly attended Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, but moved to Poway, California in 1977 where he attended Mira Mesa High School.

Unable to play high school hockey in southern California, Chris 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 Chris 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.

Instead, Chris 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."

Chris 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.

Chris 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, Chris 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.

Chris 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, Chris 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 Canadiens (1984-1990)Edit

In 1984, Chris 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, Chris 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 tremendous play warranted him the nickname "Soft Hands Chelios."

Following two more good seasons, Chris 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), Chris 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 Chris until finally, after the series fate was sealed late in Game 6, Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall memorably skated out of his net to attack him.

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

This trade happened one day after Chris was accused of fighting with two police officers as they tried to arrest him for urinating in public outside a bar in downtown Madison, Wisconsin according to a criminal complaint.

Chicago Blackhawks (1990-1999)Edit

In his first season with Chicago, Chris continued to score at his usual rate, tallying 64 points, and earned a spot on the Second NHL All-Star Team. He would help lead the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1992, before being swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Chris was in top form for the 1992-1993 season, scoring 73 points and won another Norris Trophy. His Norris Trophy winning play, which some sports reporters referred to as "Sweet" earned him the nickname "Honey Nut." The nickname derives from his name being spelled and pronounced similarly to the famous breakfast cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios.

During the 1994–95 NHL lockout, Chris played for EHC Biel in the Swiss National League A.

In 1995–96, Chris 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. Chris was captain of the Blackhawks from 1995 to 1999.

Detroit Red Wings (1999-2009)Edit

At 37 years old, Chris 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 Chris 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.

Chris' season culminated in the Red Wings' victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals, giving Chelios his second Stanley Cup. In 2004 (because of the cancellation of the NHL season), Chris (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.

Chris 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 of 2004, Chris trained with the U.S. bobsled federation in a bid to compete for the Greek bobsled team at the 2006 Winter Olympics. While he didn't compete in the bobsled, Chris did captain the USA hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

On August 4, 2005, 43-year-old Chris re-signed with the Red Wings for a one-year contract. On May 24, 2006, he re-signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

On July 3, 2006, Chris became the active leader for most games played upon the retirement of teammate Steve Yzerman.

On April 21, 2007, Chris became the oldest defenseman to score a short-handed goal in the NHL in a playoff game against the Calgary Flames. He 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, Chris 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.

The old record was set by Swiss hockey player Bibi Torriani who had played twenty years after his debut (1928 and 1948).

Chris re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for the 2007–08 season. On January 8, 2008, He 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 the age of 52) was older.

On April 12, 2008, Chris played in his 248th playoff game, breaking the NHL record set by Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy. Later that season, he also became the oldest active player to win the Stanley Cup. He signed another one-year contract with the Red Wings for the 2008–09 season.

On December 5, 2008, Chris 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 the age of 46, Chris became the oldest player in the 73-year history of the AHL. At the conclusion of the 2008–09 season, he was a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Chicago Wolves & Atlanta ThrashersEdit

After the Red Wings announced that they would not be re-signing Chris, he signed a 25-game pro try-out contract with the Chicago Wolves.

After a second 25-game pro tryout contract with the Wolves, Chris then signed a two-way contract with the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta kept him with the Wolves until he was recalled to the Thrashers, hoping that he could provide a spark for the team's playoff hopes. He played in seven games for the Thrashers, but failed to score any points.

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, Chris was sent back to the Wolves.


On August 31, 2010, Chris officially retired. On that same day, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced that he would be hired to work in the Red Wings' front office. He was named the Adviser to Hockey Operations with a role of working with Red Wings' defense prospects in Grand Rapids.

In 2013, it was announced that Chris will become an NHL analyst on Fox Sports 1, which also includes covering the hockey tournament in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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 266 31 113 144 48 423

Awards & AchievementsEdit

  • 1979–80: Leadership Award (SJHL)
  • 1980–81: Leadership Award (SJHL)
  • 1981–82: Rookie of the Year Award (WCHA)
  • 1982–83: Second All-Star Team (WCHA)
  • 1982–83: All-Tournament Team (NCAA)
  • 1982–83: NCAA Championship (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
  • 1983–84: Played in XIV Olympic Winter Games (United States)
  • 1984–85: Played in 1984 Canada Cup (United States)
  • 1984–85: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1984–85: All-Rookie Team (NHL)
  • 1985–86: Stanley Cup — Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
  • 1986–87: Played in Rendez-vous '87 (NHL)
  • 1987–88: Played in 1987 Canada Cup (United States)
  • 1988–89: First All-Star Team (NHL)
  • 1988–89: James Norris Memorial Trophy—Defenseman of the Year (NHL)
  • 1989–90: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1990–91: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1990–91: Second All-Star Team (NHL)
  • 1991–92: Played in 1991 Canada Cup (United States)
  • 1991–92: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1992–93: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1992–93: First All-Star Team (NHL)
  • 1992–93: James Norris Memorial Trophy—Defenseman of the Year (NHL)
  • 1993–94: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1994–95: First All-Star Team (NHL)
  • 1995–96: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1995–96: First All-Star Team (NHL)
  • 1995–96: James Norris Memorial Trophy—Defenseman of the Year (NHL)
  • 1996–97: All-Star Team (1996 World Cup of Hockey)
  • 1996–97: 1996 World Cup of Hockey Championship (United States)
  • 1996–97: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1996–97: Second All-Star Team (NHL)
  • 1997–98: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 1997–98: Captain (XVIII Olympic Winter Games) United States
  • 1999–2000: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 2001–02: All-Star Team (XIX Olympic Winter Games)
  • 2001–02: Silver medal (XIX Olympic Winter Games) United States
  • 2001–02: Played in All-Star Game (NHL)
  • 2001–02: First All-Star Team (NHL)
  • 2001–02: Bud Light Plus/Minus Award (NHL)
  • 2001–02: Stanley Cup—Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
  • 2005–06: Captain (XX Olympic Winter Games) United States
  • 2006–07: Mark Messier Leadership Award (NHL)
  • 2007–08: Stanley Cup-Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
  • 2011: Inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame
  • 2013: Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

International PlayEdit

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

Chris' only Olympic medal came from the 2002 Salt Lake games, winning the Silver losing to Team Canada. He played a key role in the Team USA win over Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

Chris 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.

  • 1980: Played for the United States in the 1980 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
  • 1982: Played for the United States in the 1982 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
  • 1984: Played for the United States in the XIV Olympic Winter Games
  • 1984: Played for the United States in the 1984 Canada Cup
  • 1987: Played for the United States in the 1987 Canada Cup
  • 1991: Played for the United States in the 1991 Canada Cup
  • 1996: Played for the United States in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey
  • 1998: Played for the United States in the XVIII Olympic Winter Games
  • 2002: Played for the United States in the XIX Olympic Winter Games
  • 2004: Played for the United States in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey
  • 2006: Played for the United States in the XX Olympic Winter Games

Personal LifeEdit

Chris is of Greek heritage. The family name was originally Tselios, but his father changed his family's spelling.

His older brother is former minor-leaguer Steve Chelios. His cousin, also named Chris Chelios (or Little Chris) is a former minor league player and current coach of the Robert Morris University of Illinois women's hockey team in Chicago.

His cousin, Nikos Tselios (who has also played professional hockey) is a former first round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Chris' father Constantine "Gus" Chelios owned a chain of Greek restaurants. In 1977, his family moved to Poway, California when his father left his struggling business in Chicago to open up a restaurant in the San Diego area.

During his childhood, Chris was a Chicago Blackhawks fan, but focused on football, idolizing Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. He attended Mira Mesa Senior High School in San Diego, California until 1978.

Chris and his wife Tracee have been married for 20 years. They first met while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They have four children: Dean (born in 1989), Jake (born in 1991), Caley (born in 1993) and Tara (born in 1996).

Dean (who is a forward) scored a pair of power play goals to help his high school team, Cranbrook-Kingswood, win the division 3 Michigan state high school hockey championship in 2006. He formerly played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL in Bensenville, Illinois and is currently a sophomore on the Michigan State University Spartan hockey team.

In May of 2009, Jake was drafted by the Chicago Steel (49th overall) in May 2009, and has now joined his brother at Michigan State. Caley has committed to attending Northwestern University.

Chris was very active in charitable causes during his playing days in Chicago, founding Cheli's Children." He is also founder of the CCH Xtreme hockey school.

In his career, Chris has befriended many non-hockey athletes and entertainers. In 2004, Chris and surfer Laird Hamilton trained with the U.S. bobsled team and hoped to form the first Greek bobsled team at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

On the television show "Scrubs," Dr. Perry Cox (played by Chelios' friend John C. McGinley) often wears a Red Wings jersey with Chelios' name and number. During the fourth season of the show, which was concurrent with the 2004–05 lockout, Cox was seen on at least one occasion wearing a number 24 Motor City Mechanics jersey.

Chris is also close friends with actors John Cusack and D. B. Sweeney, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and musician Kid Rock.

In fact, Chris was sitting courtside with Kid Rock during the brawl at Auburn Hills on November 19, 2004. He and Sweeney are quite close, with the two having appeared together in "The Cutting Edge" (1992) and "Two Tickets to Paradise" (2007) in addition to Chelios being the godfather to Sweeney's son, Cade.

Chris and his family (along with Hamilton) can be seen Stand up paddle surfing. He credits the activity with helping him maintain his long career. He is a regular at Michigan State University hockey games, cheering on his sons Jake and Dean.

On December 28, 2009, in Westmont, Illinois, Chris was arrested for driving under the influence. He was the only occupant of the vehicle that was stopped. The vehicle was towed and Chris was taken to the Westmont station, where he was charged, processed, and posted bond.

In March of 2010, a judge reviewed the video tape of the arrest. The case was dismissed for lack of probable cause to stop, and evidence the tape provided, that Chris was not impaired.

Chris maintains a home in Malibu, California and is well known as a member of the group of celebrity home owners and friends called the Malibu Mob. Other members include John McGinley, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, actor Tony Danza, big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, beach volleyball pro Gabrielle Reece, Justin Long, Ed O'Neill, Max Wright, Detroit area musician Kid Rock and tennis great John McEnroe.

Chris 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. Chris 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 years old) was a manager at the restaurant and Mark Barnard (52 years old) was a chef. Police arrested Justin Blackshere (17 years old) who allegedly confessed to the crime. He was a busboy at the restaurant and was fired in November of 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.

Chris 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." On January 9, 2007, the Red Wings announced that Chris would be playing that night.

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