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In Stirring Ceremony, Blackhawks Retire Chris Chelios’ #7

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CHICAGO – After an announcement that started at a Pearl Jam concert and concluding with an entourage of stars both from the hockey, sports, and entertainment world, the Blackhawks raised Chris Chelios’ iconic #7 to the rafters Sunday afternoon in a ceremony prior to their 5pm matchup against the Detroit Red Wings.

Emceed by long time play-by-play announcer Pat Foley, it was an afternoon of nostalgia of high levels between the opening montage video that included a trip down memory lane for any child of the 90’s.

“Nobody competed harder than our honoree today,” Foley said.

Chelios spent 1990-1999 with the Blackhawks before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the ’99 trade deadline. Despite playing for Detroit another ten seasons, Chelios’ heart never left Chicago and in turn, the fans welcomed him back with open arms we he returned first as a team ambassador and now, a full fledged icon of the organization.

Chris Chelios Trade Clearly Forgiven Nearly 25 Years Later

It wasn’t loved at the time and fans were outright hostile when he skated in the Winged Wheel. But time heals all wounds, as the love of a franchise icon who was a native of the city proves too powerful for even the crustiest of fans still holding onto a grudge.

Nearly 25 years to the date of that deal, Blackhawks fans have clearly moved on and the long line of crowds waiting to get in along with a jammed atrium just to hear former players talk about him spoke to that.

The long and heartfelt speech Chelios gave spoke to his love for the team and its fans. He even spoke of Patrick Kane, now a Detroit Red Wing, predicting that in the end, he would be the greatest American hockey player of all time.

But the afternoon belonged to Chelios and as the #7 rose to the rafters, the crowd roared its approval.

Safe to say, he’s one of them again–and forever.

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