UW Health Sports Medicine 

Chelios voted into Hockey Hall of Fame


July 9, 2013

MADISON, Wis. -- Time was the only thing keeping Chris Chelios from taking his place at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and becoming the first Wisconsin men's hockey alum enshrined alongside the likes of Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux. That time was the mandatory three-year waiting period from when a player retires until their eligibility into the Hall. Now that the time has passed, Chelios is one of three players and five inductees in the 2013 class for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

  Chris Chelios at Wisconsin

Some may have suspected that the waiting period might never begin for Chelios, who skated his record-tying 26th and final season in the NHL during the 2009-10 campaign, but after 1,651 regular-season games and 1,917 total games, he finally retired at the age of 48.

The resume is long, but there are spectacular highlights, like three-time Stanley Cup champion, three-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman, four-time U.S. Olympian, three-time U.S. Olympic captain and 1983 NCAA champion.


  2006 U.S. Olympic captain
  Chris Chelios with fellow
  Badger Brian

Arguably the greatest American-born hockey player, Chelios scored 22 times and posted 97 points in 88 games for Wisconsin from 1981-83. He was part of the 1983 NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team after helping the Badgers capture their fourth NCAA title. He was also named second-team All-WCHA that season. Chelios met his wife, Tracee, while attending Wisconsin.

An 11-time NHL All-Star Game participant and seven-time Professional Hockey Writers' Association NHL All Star, Chelios was the first player to skate in 400 games with three different NHL teams. He began his career with the Montreal Canadiens late in the 1983-84 season, before finishing second behind Lemieux in the race for rookie of the year in 1984-85. After capturing his first Stanley Cup in 1986, his first Norris Trophy in 1989 and becoming the first American-born captain of the Canadiens, Chelios was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks before the start of the 1990-91 season.

In Chicago, his home state until the age of 13, he won two more Norris Trophies in 1993 and 1996 and led his hometown team to the 1992 Stanley Cup finals. During his Blackhawks' tenure, Chelios was named to the all-tournament team in the the Americans' 1996 World Cup of Hockey championship run, and captained his second NHL squad.

From Chicago, Chelios moved on to the Detroit Red Wings in a trade late in the 1998-99 season. There, he would claim his second and third Stanley Cup titles, winning the trophy in 2002 and 2008.

  Raising the Stanley Cup

The second-oldest player in NHL history, Chelios retired fifth in NHL history for regular season games played (1,651), which ranks tops among American-born skaters and all defensemen. He also holds the NHL record with 266 playoff games and 24 NHL playoff appearances. He accumulated 185 goals and 948 points in regular-season play and totaled 216 goals and 1,052 points when the playoffs are factored into his career marks.

Originally a 1981 second-round draft pick (No. 40 overall) by Montreal, Chelios spent his early teenage years in California, and skated with Moose Jaw of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, before arriving at Wisconsin.

After two years with the Badgers, Chelios made the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, his first of four Olympic appearances. He captained the U.S. in 1998, 2002 and 2006, leading the squad to a silver medal at the 2002 games. He even made a run at the 2006 games in bobsled for Greece, but skated for Team USA instead.

Already a member of the Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame (2011) and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame (2011), Chelios becomes the first Badger skater, the second Badger and the 14th collegiate hockey player to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. "Badger Bob" Johnson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 as part of the builders category.

The voting was conducted by the Hall's 18-member selection committee, which met in private Tuesday morning to select the Class of 2013. The induction ceremony will take place Nov. 11 in Toronto. Chelios, along with Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Fred Shero and Geraldine Heaney make up the class.

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