Chris Chelios was always viewed as little bit of a freak of nature during the latter part of his career. How else do you describe a guy who played for 26 seasons in the NHL and retired from the game at the age of 48?
However, as he stood at the podium during Monday’s U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Chelios gave all the credit to those around him for his longevity in the game.
“I’ve been surrounded by great players my whole career,” Chelios said. “But the most enjoyment I ever had was seeing the enjoyment of my friends and family when I played.”
The three-time Norris Trophy winner was the head of a Hall of Fame class that included defenseman Gary Suter and forward Keith Tkachuk. Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider and broadcaster Mike Emrick and were also immortalized inside of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame that night.
Tkachuk scored 538 goals in 19 NHL seasons, but he counted the World Cup victory as his top achievement. Tkachuk, who despite being one of the greatest power forwards in the modern era that was often overlooked for his achievements, was taken aback for finally being recognized for his contributions to U.S. hockey.
“I didn’t expect to hear my name associated with a Hall of Fame unless it involved penalty minutes or eating,” Tkachuk said. “This means everything to me. I’m only retired for two years, and to go in with this class is amazing.”
Suter’s 17-year pro career opened in Calgary, where he was named the NHL’s top rookie in 1985-86, and went through Chicago and San Jose.