There are some players in the NHL that have that special aura around them.
Teammates and fans absolutely love them, but all the other teams in the league hate them. In today’s hockey, Brad Marchand is a great example.
He’s a massive fan favorite in Boston, but other teams hate playing against him, and fans around the league want him to fail.
But no player has ever had that special aura as Chris Chelios. Other teams always hated him, but every team wanted him on the roster.
Before 1999, the Detroit Red Wings hadn’t made a trade with their arch-rival Chicago Blackhawks in 33 years, but general manager Ken Holland wanted Chris Chelios.
They hated playing against him, but they respected him, and at age 37, Chelios joined the Red Wings. The Red Wings were hesitant even to sign him on a two-year extension once he signed, but he ended up staying for a whopping ten years.
Chelios won two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, creating memories for a lifetime.
One of those came after a playoff game in Vancouver. Chelios was a constant subject of boos and mockery from rival fans, and he wasn’t really popular in Vancouver.
But after a game in the old Pacific Coliseum, Chelios was selected as the first star. And he would make sure that the Canucks fans in the stands would never forget about it.
”Vancouver was dumb enough to pick me as a first star after a playoff series,” Chelios said in a recent broadcast on TNT.
”So instead of doing the traditional little loop in front of your bench, I went around the whole rink until they started throwing stuff, in that old Pacific Coliseum.”
Things started flying onto the ice, aimed at Chelios. But he enjoyed every second of it.
”It was the greatest moment of my life. Little mickey bottles started flying near my head, so I said I got to get out of here.”
Things like that made Chelios the Hall of Fame player he’s known as. Always fighting, always doing everything to get his opponents and their fans off balance.
”It was great, I’m telling you. One of the highlights. And Vancouver has never forgiven me.”