Detroit Red Wings: Chris Chelios Headed Back Home

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 16: Chris Chelios #24 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 16, 2008 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 16: Chris Chelios #24 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 16, 2008 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Red Wings traded for the often hated Chris Chelios.  The feeling was mutual; it wouldn’t take long though for “foe” to become an ally.

Yesterday the Detroit Red Wings would announce that Chris Chelios would be leaving the organization and moving back to Chicago to be closer to his family.  More importantly his mother.

I could only think of two other players at the time of the acquisition of Chris Chelios Detroit Red Wings fans would dislike more.  Claude Lemieux & Patrick Roy.  Detroit & Chicago had the in division rivalry and its roots were a lot deeper than just hockey.

The Detroit Pistons & Chicago Bulls had complete hatred for one another for many years.  The Chicago Bears & Detroit Lions were division rivals. The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers often didn’t see eye to eye.

Just like that the longtime captain of the Chicago Blackhawks would become a Red Wing? It ended up Chelios would play more seasons as a Red Wing than he played anywhere else in his career.  More than Montreal (7) & one season longer than his time in Chicago (9).  Chelios would go on to becoming a staple on Detroit’s back end for 10 seasons in that time would win two Stanley Cup’s.

Detroit acquired Chelios at the trade deadline in 1998/99.  The return to Chicago from Detroit was Anders Eriksson & 2 draft choices who later became Steve McCarthy & Adam Munro.  Safe to say this may have been Ken Hollands best trade of his career.

Before being accepted as a Red Wing, it was relief of not having to watch this guy beat up on Red Wings players everytime they played Chicago.  Chelios played with that nasty edge to him.  Often considered dirty but it’s not dirty if you get away with it and more times than not he got away with being nasty.  Often Chelios would be found in front of his own goal, cross-checking opponents or starting his stick at an opponents ribs and running it down the small of their back.  Chelios was always good for a couple of good tilts when the proper situation arose.

Chris Chelios’ style of play fits the city of Detroit.  Detroit is a working-class city.  Detroit is a town where the residents bring a lunch pail to the factory every day.  Chris Chelios brought his lunch pail to the rink every night, it wouldn’t go unnoticed from the fans.  It didn’t take long for his style of play to catch on and be embraced by Detroit.  One of the best memories of Chelios is off the ice.  A rumor years ago stated that AFTER practice Chelios would ride a stationary bike inside of a sauna to remain in great shape.  This may have been a factor in the longevity of his career.  I don’t know about you, but I get exhausted just sitting in a sauna for a number of minutes little own riding a stationary bike.

Next: 8 Historical Facts Every Detroit Red Wings Fan Should Know

A great quote from Chris Chelios’ statement via Detroitredwings.com

"Admittedly, I was skeptical about the 1999 trade that brought me to Detroit. As a Chicago guy who was playing for the Blackhawks at the time, we despised those Detroit teams of the 1990’s. After the trade, however, things changed quickly and I began to feel right at home."

A salute to Chris Chelios on a fantastic career, his time and effort as an advisor in the Detroit Red Wings organization and we hope his son Jake Chelios who plays in the organization has a little Chris in him.