The Chicago Blackhawks have announced that they will retire Chris Chelios’ No. 7 jersey during a pregame ceremony at their home arena on February 25, 2024. The announcement was made by Pearl Jam, who was performing at the United Center in Chicago. Chelios, a Hall of Famer and three-time Stanley Cup champion, was in attendance for the announcement and even made an appearance on stage alongside Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder.
Chelios holds the record for being one of the longest-tenured players in modern NHL history, having played for 26 seasons before retiring in 2010. During his career, he spent nine seasons with the Blackhawks and ten years with the Detroit Red Wings. It is fitting that his jersey will be retired prior to a game against the Red Wings.
The decision to retire Chelios’ jersey reflects the Blackhawks’ commitment to honoring past members of the organization. Blackhawks chairman and CEO, Danny Wirtz, emphasized the significance of Chelios not only to the team but also to the city of Chicago due to his roots in the area. This dedication to honoring the past is especially meaningful following the passing of former owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz, who had expressed a desire for Chelios to have his jersey retired.
Chelios’ career was highly successful, with a Stanley Cup win with the Montreal Canadiens and two more with the Red Wings. He also briefly played for the Atlanta Thrashers. After retiring from playing, Chelios worked as an NHL analyst for ESPN. However, in a company-wide layoff, ESPN declined to renew his contract. Chelios also had a role in the Red Wings’ front office and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.
The retirement of Chelios’ jersey is not only a celebration of his outstanding career but also an opportunity for his family, friends, and Blackhawks fans to come together and reflect on his contributions to the sport. It marks a new era of Blackhawks hockey on the ice while still recognizing and paying tribute to their rich history.