The Detroit Red Wings and Chris Chelios have parted ways.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Chelios is exploring potential opportunities with the NHLPA, and the Red Wings accommodated that by letting him go. His contract was set to expire this month. The team, however, has yet to make any official announcements.
Per Dreger of TSN: “I’m told that Chelios went to the Detroit Red Wings to say that he was involved with (NHL player agents) Anton Thun, Kurt Overhardt and Rich Winter, as they try to strengthen the National Hockey League Players’ Association and there could perhaps be a role within the PA as an ombudsman. Well, you can’t work for the Detroit Red Wings and get involved in this process, so to make it clean, the Detroit Red Wings essentially cut him loose.”
Chelios had been part of the Red Wings management team, serving on head coach Jeff Blashill’s staff. He’d watch games from the press box, worked with the team in practice, and gave the rest of the staff feedback during games.
A role with the NHLPA would be right up his alley. He was extremely outspoken on several union issues, including his scathing remarks of prominent player agent Don Meehan. Chelios believed Meehan was undermining the NHLPA with the firing of former Union boss Ted Saskin in 2008.
He had the chance to join the NHLPA upon his retirement in 2010, but passed on the role to spend more time with his family.
Fans will remember Chelios was a hated enemy in Hockeytown before being embraced when he started wearing the Winged Wheel. After breaking into the league with the Montreal Canadiens and then later serving as captain of the Chicago Blackhawks for several years, Chelios was traded to the rival Red Wings at the 1999 NHL Trade Deadline. His 1,651 career NHL games are the most of any defenseman in league history.
He was a part of the legendary 2002 Stanley Cup winning team, as well as getting his name on the Cup for a third time in his career in 2008.