CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks will retire Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios' No. 7 jersey.
The Blackhawks had Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder deliver the news to his longtime friend during the band's concert at the United Center on Thursday night.
Chelios, 61, a Chicago native, played for his hometown team from 1990 until he was traded to Detroit in March 1999. He had 92 goals and 395 assists in 664 regular-season games with the Blackhawks. He remains the team's career leader with 1,495 penalty minutes.
Danny Wirtz, the chairman and CEO of the team, said his late father, Rocky, wanted Chelios' No. 7 to be the next number retired by the franchise. Rocky Wirtz died in July at age 70.
“Chris Chelios represents not only the Blackhawks, but, given his roots here, the city of Chicago,” Danny Wirtz said in a release.
Chelios is a three-time Norris Trophy winner — awarded to the NHL's top defenseman — taking home the honor twice during his time in Chicago. He has been serving as a team ambassador for the Blackhawks.
The on-ice jersey ceremony will be held on Feb. 25 when Chicago hosts Detroit.
Chelios is the ninth player to have his number retired by the franchise, joining Glenn Hall (No. 1), Pierre Pilote (No. 3), Keith Magnusson (No. 3), Bobby Hull (No. 9), Denis Savard (No. 18), Stan Mikita (No. 21), Tony Esposito (No. 35) and Marian Hossa ( No. 81).
Like Pilote and Magnusson, Chelios could have some company with No. 7 in the rafters at some point. Brent Seabrook was a key defenseman on three Stanley Cup champions in Chicago, also wearing No. 7.
In announcing Chelios' honor, the Blackhawks said internal guidelines have been established for future jersey retirements.
“There is a lot to come for the organization as we celebrate achievements of the many great players who have worn the Blackhawks sweater,” said Jaime Faulkner, the team's president of business operations. "With our upcoming centennial celebration during the 2025-26 season, plans to celebrate our alumni and additional jersey retirements will continue to emerge as we look forward to sharing that with our fans.”
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