Born Christos Tselios on January 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois, he is better known to the hockey world as Chris Chelios. He only missed participating in the playoffs twice during his astounding 26-season NHL career.
Chelios began his hockey journey in Evergreen Park, Illinois, but found opportunities to play evaporated when the family moved to Poway, California in 1977. After being dropped from his college team, Chelios tried to extend his career in Canada, but twice was cut from Junior 'B' teams in the process. He returned to Southern California where he bulked up and after a successful season with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, found himself drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.
After being drafted, Chelios starred with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers. In 1981-82, he was selected to join the U.S. team at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. 1983, he was a member of the Badgers' NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, named to the all-tournament team and the WCHA's Second All-Star Team along the way.
After playing for the United States at the 1984 Winter Olympics, Chelios debuted with the Montreal Canadiens. That summer, he joined the U.S. squad at the 1984 Canada Cup.
In 1984-85, Chelios became a full-time member of the Canadiens. His rookie season included collecting 64 points, and he was subsequently named to the 1985 NHL All-Star Rookie Team and was runner-up to Mario Lemieux in Calder Trophy balloting for rookie of the year. In the playoffs that year, he scored 10 points in 9 games.
In his sophomore season, Chelios was part of a Stanley Cup championship when Montreal defeated the Calgary Flames in the final.
Chelios really hit his stride during the 1988-1989 season. He collected 73 points and was named to the NHL's First All-Star Team and was rewarded with the Norris Trophy as the league's premier defenseman. He was named co-captain of the Canadiens, serving with Guy Carbonneau, prior to the 1989-90 season.
On June 29, 1990, Chelios was traded, along with a second round draft pick, to the Chicago Blackhawks, with Denis Savard going to the Canadiens. In his first season with his hometown team, Chelios earned a spot on the NHL's Second All-Star Team. The Hawks made it to the Stanley Cup final in 1992, although were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He continued his strong play for Chicago, and in 1992-1993, was once again awarded the Norris Trophy.
Chris played for EHC Biel in the Swiss League during the 1994-95 NHL lock-out, but returned to enjoy another outstanding season in 1995-96, winning his third Norris Trophy and serving as captain of the Blackhawks. That summer, Chelios was a member of the United States team that won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
In March 1999 at the age of 37, Chelios was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Anders Eriksson and a pair of first-round draft picks. The Wings wanted Chelios's veteran leadership, and they received it. In 2002, he was named again to the NHL's First All-Star Team and that same season, he helped lead the United States to Olympic silver at the 2002 Winter Olympics and was named to the tournament's all-star team. The season ended with Detroit defeating the Carolina Hurricanes for the Stanley Cup championship.
With the lock-out cancelling the 2004-05 season, Chelios joined the Detroit Mechanics of the United Hockey League. Along with most NHL players, he returned to the league in 2005-06. That season, he also captained Team USA's hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympics; a full 22 years after first competing in the Olympics.
On January 8, 2008, at the age of 45 years and 348 days, Chris Chelios became the second oldest player in NHL history, passing Moe Roberts. Only Gordie Howe, who played until he was 52, was older. On April 12, 2008, Chelios played in his 248th playoff game, breaking the NHL record set by Patrick Roy. Later that season, Chelios also became the oldest active player to win the Stanley Cup when Detroit defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Chris played one final season with the Red Wings in 2008-09 and was a finalist for the Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance. After Detroit announced that they would not re-sign Chelios, he signed a try-out contract with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. He subsequently signed a two-way contract with the Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL. The Thrashers summoned Chelios for their playoff drive, but when that attempt was unsuccessful, Chris was returned to the Wolves after his seven-game stint in Atlanta.
Through his 26-year NHL career, Chris Chelios played in 1,651 regular season games and scored 185 goals, 763 assists and 948 points. In 266 playoff contests, he added 31 goals and 113 assists for 144 points.
In 2011, Chelios was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, joining the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.