NHL’s Latest Corridor Of Fame Class
TORONTO – An opportunity encounter on the seaside was the beginning of a journey that included 1,651 NHL video games, three Stanley Cups and enshrinement in the Hockey Corridor of Fame for Chris Chelios.
Chelios was inducted Monday night time along with Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Ray Shero and Geraldine Heaney.
Taking part in in the NHL wasn’t initially Chelios’ dream, however it was Bobby Parker’s.
Parker was a defenseman from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, with enough of a future in hockey that a number of schools offered him scholarships.
He chose United States Worldwide University in San Diego, Calif., the place Chelios was enrolled and making an attempt to make the group as a ahead in the fall of 1979.
Chelios did not make it, and while Parker did, he determined the dilapidated facilities and life in California weren’t for him and went dwelling to renew his profession with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Earlier than he left, Parker made a simple gesture he attributes to destiny.
“We have been simply on the seashore in the future, and I acknowledged him. So I simply walked over,” Parker mentioned. “We just started chatting, and he mentioned his hockey was achieved. He was executed, there was only a beer and pizza league there, like a senior league.”
When Chelios told Parker he simply wanted to play hockey somewhere, Parker gave him the telephone variety of Moose Jaw coach Larry Billows.
After some convincing, partly from Parker, Billows brought Chelios in as a defenseman despite the fact that he had by no means played the place before.
“They started writing in the newspaper, ‘We obtained this defenseman coming from San Diego,’ ” Parker recalled. “And I’m pondering, ‘Man, he hasn’t even ever played defense.’ I had no idea what was going to happen.”
Chelios’ mother and father had wanted him to get an training, so his mentality was to get a enterprise diploma from USIU and “go from there.”
Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney and Chris Chelios all acquired their rings on Friday, but weren’t formally inducted into the Hockey Corridor of Fame till Monday.
As soon as he caught a break thanks to Parker and Billows and switched to defense, Chelios shined and developed into a point-per-game player, winning three Norris Trophies as the NHL’s finest defenseman.
“I watch lots of hockey and I performed lots, and what actually amazed me was as quickly as he began playing, it was like his pure position,” Parker mentioned. “What also occurred (was) he grew a couple inches. He put on, I feel, 15 kilos, over the course of a year. Sort of the rest is historical past.”
Chelios was drafted within the second round by the Montreal Canadiens in 1981 and went to the University of Wisconsin.
In 1982, Chelios endured what he called the worst lack of his profession, an 8-0 defeat to the Soviet Union on the planet junior championship that made him almost “embarrassed to be American.”
In 1986, Chelios enjoyed his first major staff triumph as part of the twenty third Stanley Cup team in Canadiens historical past. Being amid one million Habs fans on Saint Catherine Avenue remains one of many Chicago native’s fondest memories.
“Having each fan move me a drink each minute of the parade, 1 hour and quarter-hour was a 4-hour parade,” Chelios mentioned. “There’s nothing like successful a championship.”
Chelios was unexpectedly traded to his hometown Blackhawks in 1990 and played eight-plus seasons there earlier than being dealt to Detroit. He won two extra Cups with the Red Wings in 2002 and 2008.
Chelios completed his career with the NHL record for postseason appearances (24) and most video games performed by an American defenseman (1,651). He retired at age forty seven after one remaining stop with the Atlanta Thrashers.
For some gamers, comparable to fellow inductee Niedermayer, retiring was a tough decision. Shanahan had no selection because he acquired cut. Heaney was finally ready to hang up her skates after a lot success for Group Canada when she was able to get married and have kids.
“For me it was really easy,” Chelios mentioned. “Zero targets, zero assists, zero factors, so time to go.”
Chelios had 185 targets and 763 assists, retiring ninth among defensemen in points with 948. Parker, who grew up idolizing Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr, never bought a sniff of life within the NHL and is now a social worker living in Calgary.
Parker is 51 now, just like Chelios. In Toronto to support his good friend during induction weekend, Parker continues to be left to surprise what would have grow to be of a Corridor of Fame career if he did not approach Chelios sooner or later on the beach.
“He most likely wouldn’t have played,” Parker said.
The Related Press contributed to this report.
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