Chris Chelios, the Chicago kid who for over a decade was one of the best defensemen in the NHL, has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Chelios started his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens. But he came to the team he rooted for as a child, the Blackhawks, in a trade for the great Dennis Savard in 1990. He played his best hockey for the Hawks, and ran a restaurant/bar, "Chelie's Chili," south of the Stadium on Madison Street. It became my customary haunt after attending the game, and I spent a couple of New Years Eves there after cheering on the Warriors of the Four Feathers. One year I even got to kiss his sister at midnight! ;)
Cheli is one of my all-time favorite Hawks. The blood in his veins was Blackhawk red. He literally broke down and cried in 1999 when Bob Pulford and "Dollar Bill" Wirtz traded him away in one of their patented bonehead moves.
He bought a restaurant in Detroit and moved his family there, eventually leaving the Red Wings and finishing out his career with the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets). Today he works in the Red Wings' front office.
But he'll always be a Hawk to me.