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Cheli To Be Honored By Blackhawks

NHL Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, a Chicago native who played several seasons with the Blackhawks but has his Stanley Cup rings from the Canadiens and Red Wings, will be honored by his hometown team on December 17:

The Chicago Blackhawks will host Chris Chelios Heritage Night at the United Center on Friday, December 17 before the team battles the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 P.M. Chelios will drop the ceremonial first puck, while the organization will honor him with a pre-game video and several in-game tributes. The first 10,000 fans to enter the building will receive a Chris Chelios Heritage Night hat sponsored by The PrivateBank.↵

↵Over the last two seasons, the Blackhawks have hosted Heritage Nights for Tony Amonte, Glenn Hall, Steve Larmer, Bob Probert, Jeremy Roenick, the “MPH” line of Pit Martin, Jim Pappin and Dennis Hull and for each of the organization’s four ambassadors (Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Denis Savard).↵

↵“I’m very proud to be honored in this way by the Chicago Blackhawks organization,” said Chelios. “This will be a special night for my family and I and I’m happy to be able to share it with the great fans of the Blackhawks.”

Chelios is now a senior hockey operations advisor for the Red Wings. Recently, the Daily Herald's Tim Sassone opined on whether Chelios' No. 7 should be retired by the Blackhawks; his conclusion was no:

Did Chelios play here long enough? That’s the key question. He appeared in 664 regular season games with the Hawks and had 487 points to go with those two Norris Trophies.↵

↵Compare those numbers to what Pierre Pilote did as a great Hawks defenseman to have his No. 3 retired. Pilote played in 821 games from 1955-68 and had 477 points, winning three Norris Trophies and a Stanley Cup in 1961.↵

↵Pilote is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Chelios no doubt will join him in three years.↵

↵It's a tough call. But while Chelios was a great, great player, I would have to say no to retiring his No. 7. There's no discussion about retiring the numbers of Steve Larmer and Doug Wilson, and their accomplishments were many.

The key, likely, is no Cups with the Hawks -- that's probably why Pilote got his number retired. Chelios gets a night in his honor, and that's great recognition.