Hall-of-Fame defenceman Chris Chelios with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008. Photo courtesy of dan4th/Wikipedia.

Hall-Of-Famer Chelios Leaving Detroit

A retired Hall-of-Fame NHL defenceman is leaving the city he’s called home for two decades.

Chris Chelios announced Thursday that he is leaving the Detroit Red Wings organization to return to his hometown of Chicago. The NHL club published a statement from Chelios on its official website.

In the statement, Chelios said he’s leaving Detroit to be closer to his family, though it was not immediately apparent if he was leaving the game of hockey altogether.

“I began to seriously consider moving home last February after the passing of my father,” said Chelios. “Now that my children have all graduated, it seems like the ideal time for my wife, Tracee, and I to make the move.”

Chelios, 56, made a name for himself as a tough, physical defenceman in the NHL. He began his career in 1983 with the Montreal Canadiens, winning a Stanley Cup with them in 1986.

He then became a fan favourite with his hometown Chicago Blackhawks. He became a player Red Wings fans loved to hate, but all that changed in 1999 when in a blockbuster trade, the Blackhawks traded him to Detroit.

“Admittedly, I was skeptical about the 1999 trade that brought me to Detroit,” said Chelios. “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. What an unbelievable experience, playing on some of the greatest teams in league history, with some of the greatest players of all-time. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been a part of it all.”

Chelios won Stanley Cups with the Wings in 2002 and 2008, and he finished his NHL career with the Atlanta Thrashers. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Since retiring as a player, Chelios worked in the Red Wings’ front office as an adviser and on the Wings coaching staff as an evaluator of the team’s defensive corps. He also served as an assistant coach for Team USA at this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.