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Born January 25, 1962 (1962-01-25) (age 48),
Chicago, IL, USA
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
191 lb (87 kg; 13 st 9 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Right
NHL team
F. teams
Atlanta Thrashers
Montreal Canadiens
Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Ntl. team  United States
NHL Draft 40th overall, 1981
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1983 – present

Chris Chelios (pronounced /ˈtʃɛli.oʊs/; born Christos Kostas Tselios on January 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American professional ice hockey defenseman currently with the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League. Chelios has also played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings. Chelios is the oldest active player in the NHL, has played the most games of any active player in the NHL, and has the most career penalty minutes of any active player. 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, he appeared in the playoffs for an NHL record 24th time, having missed the playoffs only once (1997–98) in his entire career. Chelios is of Greek heritage. His cousin, Nikos Tselios, also played professional hockey and was a former first round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.


Playing career


Early years

Chelios was raised in Evergreen Park and was a standout youth hockey player. He briefly attended Mount Carmel High School, but moved to Southern California in 1977. Attending San Diego's Mira Mesa High School until his graduation in 1979, Chelios has been honored in the Marauders' Hall of Fame. As a teenager, 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."

He 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. Chelios 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, he 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.

Chelios 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 he joined the U.S. team at the 1984 Canada Cup. He wore number 24 in Montreal and Detroit but number 7 in Chicago.

Montreal Canadiens

In 1984, he 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, he 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.

Following two more good seasons, Chelios 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), Chelios became reviled by Flyer fans for a hit on Brian Propp that left the Philadelphia winger with a concussion and forced him to miss the next game. For the remainder of the series, the Flyers vented their anger against Chelios until finally, late in Game 6, Flyer goaltender Ron Hextall whacked his stick and blocker pad at Chelios, apparently in retaliation for the hit.

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

Chicago Blackhawks

In his first season with Chicago, he continued to score at his usual rate, tallying 64 points, and earned a spot on the Second NHL All-Star Team. Chelios would help lead the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1992, before being swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was in top form for the 1992-1993 season, scoring 73 points and won another Norris Trophy.

During the 1994–95 NHL lockout he played for EHC Biel in the Swiss National League A.[1]

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

Detroit Red Wings

At 37, Chelios 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 Chelios 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. His season culminated in the Red Wings' victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals, giving Chelios his second Stanley Cup.

Chris chelios.jpg

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

On August 4, 2005, the 43-year-old re-signed with the Red Wings for a one-year contract. On May 24, 2006, Chelios re-signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings. On July 3, 2006, Chelios became the active leader for most games played upon the retirement of teammate Steve Yzerman. On April 21, 2007, he became the oldest defenseman to score a short-handed goal in the NHL in a playoff game against the Calgary Flames.

Chelios was the captain of the US Olympic Hockey Team that played at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

Chelios re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for the 2007–08 season. On January 8, 2008, Chelios 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 age 52, was older. On April 12, 2008, Chelios played in his 248th playoff game, breaking the NHL record set by Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy. Later that season, Chelios also became the oldest active player to win the Stanley Cup.

Chelios signed another one-year contract with the Red Wings for the 2008–09 season. On December 5, 2008, Chelios played in his first of two games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League farm club for the Red Wings, as part of a conditioning stint. At 46 years of age, he became the oldest player in the 73-year history of the AHL.[2] At the conclusion of the 2008–09 season, Chelios was a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Chicago Wolves and Atlanta Thrashers

After the Red Wings announced that they would not be re-signing Chelios,[3] he signed with the Chicago Wolves to a 25-game pro try-out contract.[4] After a second 25-game pro tryout contract with the Wolves,[5] Chelios signed a two-way contract with the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta kept him in their farm team, the Chicago Wolves, until he was recalled to the Thrashers.[6]


Chelios grew up in Evergreen Park, where his father, Constantine "Gus" Chelios owned a chain of Greek restaurants. The family moved to Poway, California, in 1977 when his father left his struggling business in Chicago to open a restaurant in the San Diego area. He was a Chicago Blackhawks fan during his childhood but was more focused on football, idolizing Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. Chelios attended Mira Mesa Senior High School in San Diego up until 1978.

Chelios has been married to his wife, Tracee, for twenty years. They met while students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. They have four children, Dean, 20, Jake, 18, Caley, 16, and Tara, 14. Dean Chelios, 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. Dean formerly played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL in Bensenville, Illinois and is currently a freshman on the Michigan State University Spartan hockey team. Jake was drafted by the Chicago Steel, 49th overall, in May 2009.[7]

He was very active in charitable causes during his playing days in Chicago, founding Cheli's Children."[8]

He is the older brother of former minor-leaguer Steve Chelios, cousin of former NHL player Nikos Tselios, whose father was one of Gus Chelios' brothers. The family name was originally Tselios, but Gus Chelios changed his family's spelling. His cousin, also named Chris Chelios (Little Chris), is a former minor league player and current coach of the Robert Morris College women's hockey team in Chicago. He is also founder of the CCH Xtreme hockey school.[9]

In his career, Chelios 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 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. Chelios 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. Chelios 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.

Chelios and his family, along with Hamilton, can be seen Stand up paddle surfing. Chelios credits the activity with helping him maintain his long career.[10]

Legal troubles

On December 28, 2009 in Westmont, Illinois, Chelios was arrested for driving under the influence. He was the only occupant of the vehicle that was stopped. The vehicle was towed and Chelios was taken to the Westmont station, where he was charged, processed and posted bond. In March 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 Chelios was not impaired.

Malibu Mob

Chelios maintains a home in Malibu, California, and is well-known as a member of the Malibu Mob[11], a group of celebrity friends and neighbors including 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.[12]


Chelios 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. He 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, was a manager at the restaurant and Mark Barnard, 52, was a chef. Police arrested Justin Blackshere, 17, who allegedly confessed to the crime. He was a busboy at the restaurant and was fired in November 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.[13] Chelios 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."[14] On January 9, 2007, the Red Wings announced that Chelios would be playing that night.[15]


Career statistics

    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 29 0 0 0 1 18 6 0 0 0 0 2
2008–09 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 2 0 1 1 0 2
NHL totals 1645 185 763 948 352 2891 268 31 113 144 48 423
AHL totals 2 0 1 1 0 2
WCHA totals 88 22 75 97 361
SJHL totals 131 38 111 148 361

International play

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

His only Olympic medal came from the 2002 Salt Lake games, winning the Silver losing to team Canada. Chelios played a key role in the Team USA win over Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He captained the US team in 2004 World Cup of Hockey where the USA lost in its semi-final to Finland.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "CHELIOS SETS AHL RECORD IN GRIFFINS LOSS TO MARLIES". TSN ( 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  3. ^ "Holland: Chelios is not returning to Wings". Associated Press. 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  4. ^ "47-YEAR OLD CHELIOS SIGNS WITH AHL'S WOLVES; TO DEBUT FRIDAY". TSN ( 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  5. ^ "another 25 game tryout, which would bring the total to 50 games.". 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  6. ^ LeBrun, Pierre (2010-03-10). "48-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios called up by Atlanta Thrashers". Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  7. ^ Dean Chelios's hockey statistics profile at
  8. ^ 1981 NHL Entry Draft - Chris Chelios
  9. ^ CCH Xtreme
  10. ^ ESPN - ESPN The Magazine
  11. ^ "Wings veteran Chelios a member of 'The Malibu Mob'". May 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  12. ^ MSN TV Blog: Paging Dr. Cox: 'Scrubs' Doc John C. McGinley Dishes on His Motor-Mouthed Alter Ego, His Famous Friends and His Elle MacPherson Jones
  13. ^ ESPN - Ex-busboy sentenced to life for slayings in Chelios' Detroit restaurant - NHL
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ ESPN - Chelios returning to Red Wings on Tuesday night - NHL

External links

Preceded by
Peter Laviolette
US Men's Olympic Hockey Team Captain
1998, 2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Jamie Langenbrunner
Preceded by
Dirk Graham
Chicago Blackhawks captains
Succeeded by
Doug Gilmour
Preceded by
Bob Gainey
Montreal Canadiens captains
Co-captains with Guy Carbonneau
Succeeded by
Guy Carbonneau
Preceded by
Paul Coffey
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Brian Leetch
Preceded by
Brian Leetch
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Ray Bourque
Preceded by
Ray Bourque
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Ray Bourque
Preceded by
Joe Sakic and Patrik Eliáš
Winner of the NHL Plus/Minus Award
Succeeded by
Peter Forsberg and Milan Hejduk

Simple English

Born January 25, 1962(1962-01-25),
Chicago, IL, USA
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
191 lb (87 kg; 13 st 9 lb)
Position Defenceman
Shot Left
NHL Draft 40th overall, 1981
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1983 – 2010

Christos Kostas Tselios (born January 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois) is a retired professional American ice hockey defenceman that played his playing career for the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Chelios won the Stanley Cup in 2008 and was also the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks from 1995 to 1999.

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