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Red Wings legend Chris Chelios will leave the team after nearly two decades of service to return to Chicago to be closer to his family.

Chelios defied father time in his stint with the Red Wings after leading Detroit in winning the 2002 and 2008 Stanley Cups. The 56-year-old Chelios finished his career with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010 before joining the Wings front office as an advisor wherein he helped the team during practices.

“For me, this is an opportunity to move back to Chicago to be closer to family, and in particular my mother. I began to seriously consider moving home last February after the passing of my father. Now that my children have all graduated, it seems like the ideal time for my wife, Tracee, and I to make the move,” Chelios said in a statement.

It can be recalled that then 37-year-old Chelios was traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Red Wings on March 20, 1999 in exchange for Anders Eriksson and a pair of first-round selections. The arrival of Chelios to Detroit caught the attention of the league most especially since he was the team skipper of the Blackhawks.

The Red Wings and the Blackhawks were bitter rivals at that time as both teams play in the Central Division. Chelios who won his second Norris Trophy in his time with Chicago captained the Blackhawks from 1995 to 1999.

Chelios Proved Them Wrong

Nonetheless, Chelios rose to the spotlight as he registered 21 goals, 131 assists, and 613 penalty minutes on top of an impressive plus-158 rating during his 578 games with the Red Wings. During the 2001-02 season, Chelios appeared in 79 games while recording six goals and 33 assists in the regular season.

Chelios was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013 on the first ballot after posting career numbers of 185 goals, and 763 assists. Throughout his career, Chelios has played with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta.

The three-time Norris Trophy awardee was a full-time member of the Canadiens in the 1984 National Hockey League season. He was drafted by the Canadiens with the 40th overall pick in the 1981 NHL draft.

Overall, Chelios is ranked sixth all-time in career games played with 1,651. Chelios is tied with Gordie Howe for the most seasons played in the league with 26.

On the other hand, his son, Jake hopes to continue the tradition after being signed by the Red Wings to a one-year deal on July 1. He will be playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL.  

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