The Hockey Hall of Fame committee made the right choice when they named Chris Chelios as a member of the 2013 class. Chelios had an amazing career, and he truly deserved to be recognized for all his efforts and triumphs as an NHL superstar.
Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan, Geraldine Heaney, and, finally, Fred Shero. #HHOF— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) July 9, 2013
There were several players eligible for enshrinement this year, but lets take a look at why Chelios was chosen.
Player: Chris Chelios
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 191 pounds
Playing Career: 1983-2010
Teams Played For: Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Atlanta Thrashers
Hall of Fame Resume
Chelios was a no-brainer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility for many reasons. The Hockey Hall of Fame considers both international and professional experience, and Chelios certainly has a wealth of qualifications.
Chelios was known for his leadership, and he represented the Blackhawks as team captain for five seasons and the Canadiens for one season alongside Guy Carbonneau.
The workhorse defender had the longest career among defenseman, as he participated in 1,651 NHL games. When you factor in all position players, Chelios had the fifth-longest career in league history.
During that time Chelios contributed 948 points, he was a three-time Norris Trophy recipient, an 11-time All-Star and a three-time Stanley Cup champion.
Internationally, Chelios represented his country as team captain, and he led the United States to silver in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Games. He also received honors in 2011 when he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
During his early days, Chelios was known for his offensive abilities, and his teammates even called him "Soft Hands Chelios." He was continually one of the league's top offensive defenders, but as he aged, he modified his game.
In his later years, Chelios became a solid two-way defender who constantly went out against the opposition's best line. He played more of a shutdown role until his later years, because at that point, his mobility was subpar. For the better part of his career, Chelios was an offensive threat, and he was one of the best puck movers of his era.
Chelios' greatest achievement was his role in the Detroit Red Wings' Stanley Cup victory in 2002. As a 41-year-old blueliner, Chelios had a solid regular season and a better postseason. In 79 games, Chelios had 39 points, and in 24 playoff games, he was a plus-15 with 14 points.
This season and playoff run really illustrated Chelios' success as a player, his determination and his ability to be a factor as a defenseman. It was impressive to see Chelios perform admirably, and it was one of the greatest moments of his career.