Earlier next year, the Chicago Blackhawks will hang legendary NHL defenseman Chris Chelios’ No. 7 jersey in the rafters.
The Hall of Famer and three-time Stanley Cup champion will be honored in a pregame ceremony at the Blackhawks‘ home arena on February 25, 2024. Pearl Jam was playing a concert at the United Center in Chicago and made the announcement about the pending jersey retirement during the show.
Chelios was on hand to watch his friend and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder perform some of the band’s biggest hits. He made an appearance on stage for the special announcement.
Chelios was one of the longest-tenured players in modern NHL history, playing 26 seasons. He retired from hockey in 2010.
He spent nine seasons with the Blackhawks and ten years with the Detroit Red Wings. His jersey will be retired prior to Chicago’s game against the Red Wings.
“We are entering a new era of Blackhawks hockey on the ice, but the importance of honoring past members of this organization is, and always will be, a priority,” Blackhawks chairman and CEO Danny Wirtz said. “Chris Chelios represents not only the Blackhawks, but, given his roots here, the city of Chicago.”
Former Blackhawks owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz died in July. He was the fifth owner in franchise history, having inherited it from his father, Bill in 2007.
Wirtz said that his late father wanted Chelios “to be the next Blackhawk to have his jersey retired and would have loved to see this moment.”
“We look forward to celebrating Chris’ career in February with his family, friends and sharing it all with Blackhawks fans,” Wirtz said.
Chelios won a Stanley Cup title with the Montreal Canadiens and two with the Red Wings. He also played briefly for the Atlanta Thrashers.
Chelios worked for ESPN as NHL analyst. In June, Front Office Sports reported that the sports network declined to renew Chelios’ contract as part of Disney’s company-wide layoffs. ESPN did not comment on the status of Chelios’ contract at the time.
ESPN acquired the NHL broadcasting rights ahead of the 2021-22 season.
Chelios also spent time working in the Red Wings’ front office. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.