Chris Chelios

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Chris Chelios
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2013
Chelios March 2007 01.jpg
Born(1962-01-25) January 25, 1962 (age 52)
Evergreen Park, IL, USA
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight191 lb (87 kg; 13 st 9 lb)
Played forMontreal Canadiens
Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Atlanta Thrashers
National team United States
NHL Draft40th overall, 1981
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career1983–2010
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Chris Chelios
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2013
Chelios March 2007 01.jpg
Born(1962-01-25) January 25, 1962 (age 52)
Evergreen Park, IL, USA
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight191 lb (87 kg; 13 st 9 lb)
Played forMontreal Canadiens
Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Atlanta Thrashers
National team United States
NHL Draft40th overall, 1981
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career1983–2010

Christos Kostas Tselios (born January 25, 1962), better known as Chris Chelios, is a retired American professional ice hockey defenseman. He is currently the Executive Advisor to Ken Holland, the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, a role that Steve Yzerman held before leaving to become general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Chelios played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and Atlanta Thrashers. When he was called up from the AHL's Chicago Wolves to play for the Thrashers during the 2009–10 NHL season, Chelios was the oldest active player in the NHL and the second oldest of all time, had played the most games of any active player in the NHL, was the last player from the 1981 NHL Entry Draft still active (or any draft from 1986 and earlier), and had the most career penalty minutes of any active player. Chelios currently holds the record for most games played in the NHL by a defenseman, is fifth overall with 1,651 games played, and is tied with Gordie Howe for most NHL seasons played with 26. On November 24, 2006, he appeared in the playoffs for an NHL record 24th time, having missed the playoffs only twice (1997–98 and 2009–10). Chelios is also the record-holder for most career postseason losses, with 117 (also the most in any professional sport in North America). However, he only lost one Game 7 in his entire career, a 3-2 OT loss in the 1985 Adams Division Finals against the Nordiques. Chelios is of Greek heritage. His cousin, Nikos Tselios, also played professional hockey and is a former first round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes. Chelios was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 8, 2013.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Chelios was raised in Evergreen Park, Illinois and was a standout youth hockey player. He attended Mount Carmel High School in Chicago until his family moved to Poway, California,[2] where he attended Mira Mesa High School.[3][4]

Unable to play high school hockey in southern California, Chelios wasn't recruited by any U.S. colleges. His only scholarship offer came from local San Diego-based U.S. International University, the only NCAA Division I hockey team west of the Rockies. But when Chelios arrived on campus as a freshman in 1979 he soon realized he was in the wrong environment, facing bigger players with considerably more junior hockey experience. He was eventually cut from the team and considered quitting hockey. Instead, he tried his luck in Canada, where he was twice cut by Junior B teams in Canada and hit a low point when he had to borrow money from strangers to get home to California one year. Chelios said, "I wasn't any bigger or any better than the other guys, so they weren't going to take a kid from the States when they could have a local guy."

He returned home and grew three inches while adding 40 pounds of muscle. He was then drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to that, he played for the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where he tallied 87 points and 175 penalty minutes in just 54 games in his final season. Chelios enjoyed two strong years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison after being drafted. As one of the top collegiate players in the country, he was selected for the United States at the 1981–82 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. In 1983, he was part of the Badgers' NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship team and was named to the all-tournament team and the second WCHA all-star team.

Chelios was a member of the U.S. Olympic team for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. After that he made his debut for the Canadiens, playing 12 games in the regular season and 15 in the playoffs. That summer he joined the U.S. team at the 1984 Canada Cup. He wore number 24 in Montreal, Detroit and Atlanta but number 7 with the Chicago Blackhawks and Wolves.

Montreal Canadiens (1984 - 1990)[edit]

In 1984, he made the Montreal Canadiens for good, and distinguished himself with his play. During his early days, Chelios was known for his offensive abilities, and his teammates even called him "Soft Hands Chelios."[5] He earned a trip to the National Hockey League All-Star Game and was named to the 1985 NHL All-Rookie Team. He scored 64 points in 74 games, a high total for a defenseman, even in the higher-scoring 1980s. He came second to Mario Lemieux for the Calder Memorial Trophy. In the playoffs that year, he scored 10 points in 9 games, with a +17 plus/minus. Although he only played 41 games in the 1985-1986 season, he won his first Stanley Cup, playing in front of Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Roy.

Following two more good seasons, Chelios really broke out in the 1988-1989 season. He scored 73 points in 80 games at +35, was named to the All-Star First-Team, and won the James Norris Memorial Trophy. During that year's Wales Conference (now Eastern Conference) Finals series against the Philadelphia Flyers (which the Canadiens won in six games), Chelios became reviled by Flyer fans for a dirty hit on Brian Propp that left the Philadelphia winger with a serious concussion and forced him to miss the next game. For the remainder of the series, the Flyers did not retaliate against Chelios until finally, after the series fate was sealed late in Game 6, Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall memorably skated out of his net to attack Chelios in retaliation, which got Hextall suspended for 12 games.

After playing only 53 games in the next season (in which he served as co-captain, with Guy Carbonneau), on June 29, 1990, Chelios was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks with a 2nd-round draft pick for Denis Savard, who is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame. This trade happened one day after Chelios was accused of fighting with two police officers as they tried to arrest him for urinating in public outside a bar in downtown Madison, Wis., according to a criminal complaint.[6][7]

Chicago Blackhawks (1990 - 1999)[edit]

In his first season with Chicago, he continued to score at his usual rate, tallying 64 points, and earned a spot on the Second NHL All-Star Team. Chelios would help lead the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1992, before being swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was in top form for the 1992-1993 season, scoring 73 points and won another Norris Trophy. His Norris Trophy winning play, which some sports reporters referred to as "Sweet", earned him the nickname "Honey Nut". The nickname derives from his name being spelled and pronounced similarly to the famous breakfast cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios.

During the 1994–95 NHL lockout he played for EHC Biel in the Swiss National League A.[8]

In 1995–96, Chelios would have another great season for the Blackhawks, scoring 73 points and winning his third Norris Trophy. When the Summer of 1996 rolled around, he would help lead the United States to its biggest international hockey win since the 1980 Winter Olympics, beating Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey final series and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Chelios was captain of the Blackhawks from 1995 to 1999.

Detroit Red Wings (1999 - 2009)[edit]

At 37, Chelios could still help teams with his veteran leadership and his largely remaining talent. On March 23, 1999, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Anders Eriksson and two first-round draft picks.

The move to Detroit, where he had fewer responsibilities and more skilled teammates, helped keep Chelios playing at close to his peak level. In 2002, his +40 plus/minus led the league, and he was again named to the First All-Star Team. He also led the United States hockey team to a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics, and was named to the Tournament's All-Star Team. His season culminated in the Red Wings' victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals, giving Chelios his second Stanley Cup.

Chelios as a Red Wing.

In 2004, because of the cancellation of the NHL season, Chelios, along with fellow Red Wing teammates Derian Hatcher and Kris Draper, decided to play hockey for the Motor City Mechanics, a UHL team based out of Fraser, Michigan. He was heavily criticized for this decision as the UHL has a maximum salary in place, but at the same time he was strongly against a salary cap in the NHL. In October 2004 he trained with the U.S. bobsled federation in a bid to compete for the Greek bobsled team at the 2006 Winter Olympics. While Chelios didn't compete in the bobsled, he did captain the USA hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

On August 4, 2005, the 43-year-old re-signed with the Red Wings for a one-year contract. On May 24, 2006, Chelios re-signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings. On July 3, 2006, Chelios became the active leader for most games played upon the retirement of teammate Steve Yzerman. On April 21, 2007, he became the oldest defenseman to score a short-handed goal in the NHL in a playoff game against the Calgary Flames.

Chelios was the captain of the US Olympic Hockey Team that played at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. By participating in ice hockey at the 2006 Winter Olympics, Chelios set a new standard, by becoming the first player to take part in an Olympic ice hockey tournament, twenty-two years after he played in his first.[9] The old record was set by Swiss hockey player Bibi Torriani who had played twenty years after his debut (1928 and 1948).

Chelios re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for the 2007–08 season. On January 8, 2008, Chelios became the second oldest player in the history of the NHL, at 45 years, 348 days, passing Moe Roberts. Only Gordie Howe, who played until age 52, was older. On April 12, 2008, Chelios played in his 248th playoff game, breaking the NHL record set by Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy. Later that season, Chelios also became the oldest active player to win the Stanley Cup.

Chelios signed another one-year contract with the Red Wings for the 2008–09 season. On December 5, 2008, Chelios played in his first of two games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League (AHL) farm club for the Red Wings, as part of a conditioning stint. At 46 years of age, he became the oldest player in the 73-year history of the AHL.[10] At the conclusion of the 2008–09 season, Chelios was a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Chicago Wolves and Atlanta Thrashers[edit]

After the Red Wings announced that they would not be re-signing Chelios,[11] he signed a 25-game pro try-out contract with the Chicago Wolves.[12] After a second 25-game pro tryout contract with the Wolves,[13] Chelios then signed a two-way contract with the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta kept him with the Wolves until he was recalled to the Thrashers,[14] hoping that he could provide a spark for the team's playoff hopes.[15] He played in seven games for the Thrashers, but failed to score any points.[16] On April 6, 2010, the Thrashers lost a game against the Devils that they had to win, in order to reach the playoffs, which meant that the Thrashers missed the 2010 playoffs. On April 7, 2010, Chelios was sent back to the Wolves.[15][17]

Retirement and transition to Wings front office[edit]

On August 31, 2010, Chelios officially retired. The same day, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced that Chelios would be hired to work in the Red Wings' front office. He was named Adviser to Hockey Operations, with a role of working with Red Wings' defense prospects in Grand Rapids.[15][18][19]

In 2013, it was announced that Chelios will become an NHL analyst on Fox Sports 1, which also includes covering the hockey tournament in the 2014 Winter Olympics.[20]

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  United States
Winter Olympics
Silver2002 Salt Lake City
World Cup of Hockey
Gold1996 United States
Canada Cup
Silver1991 Canada

Chelios has participated in 11 international tournaments for the United States:

His only Olympic medal came from the 2002 Salt Lake games, winning the silver medal losing to Team Canada. Chelios played a key role in the Team USA win over Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He captained the US team in 2004 World Cup of Hockey where the USA lost in its semi-final to Finland. He retired from international play holding the record for most games played (47) for any country in Best-on-best hockey.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Chelios grew up in Chicago, Illinois, where his father, Constantine "Gus" Chelios, owned a chain of Greek restaurants. The family name was originally Tselios, but Gus chose to change the family's spelling. The family moved to Poway, California, in 1977, when his father left his struggling business in Chicago to open a restaurant in the San Diego area. He was a Chicago Blackhawks fan during his childhood but was more focused on football, idolizing Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. Chelios attended Mount Carmel High School (Chicago) before his family moved west, and then finished prep studies at Mira Mesa Senior High School in San Diego.

Chelios and his wife Tracee have been married for twenty years. They met while students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. They have four children: Dean (b. 1989), Jake (b. 1991), Caley (b. 1993), and Tara (b. 1996). Dean Chelios, a forward, scored a pair of power play goals to help his Cranbrook-Kingswood high school team win the 2006 Division III Michigan state high school hockey championship. Dean played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL in Bensenville, Illinois, and is currently a sophomore on the Michigan State University Spartan hockey team. In May 2009, Jake was drafted by 49th overall by the Chicago Steel, and joined his brother at Michigan State.[22][23] On March 22, 2014, both Dean and Jake Chelios signed with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL in the Detroit Red Wings organization. Caley has committed to Northwestern University.

Chris Chelios was very active in charitable causes during his playing time in Chicago, founding Cheli's Children."[24]

Chris is the older brother of former minor-leaguer Steve Chelios, and cousin of former NHL player Nikos Tselios. Chris's cousin, also named Chris ("Little Chris"), a former minor league player, is current coach of the Robert Morris University of Illinois women's hockey team in Chicago and founder of the CCH Xtreme hockey school.[25]

Through his career, Chelios has befriended many non-hockey athletes and entertainers. In 2004, he and surfer Laird Hamilton trained with the U.S. bobsled team and hoped to form the first Greek bobsled team at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Chelios and his family can be found Stand up paddle surfing with Hamilton. Chris credits the activity with helping him maintain his long career.[26]

On Scrubs, Dr. Perry Cox, played by Chelios' friend John C. McGinley, often wears a Red Wings jersey with Chelios' name and number. During the fourth season of the show, which was concurrent with the 2004–05 lockout, Cox was seen on at least one occasion wearing a No. 24 "Motor City Mechanics" jersey. Chelios is also close friends with actors John Cusack and D. B. Sweeney, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, and musician Kid Rock. Chelios was sitting courtside with Kid Rock during the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills on November 19, 2004.[citation needed] Chelios and Sweeney are quite close, with the two having appeared together in The Cutting Edge (1992) and Two Tickets to Paradise (2007), in addition to Chelios being the godfather to Sweeney's son, Cade.

Chelios was a regular at Michigan State University hockey games, cheering on his sons Jake and Dean.[27]

DUI arrest[edit]

On December 28, 2009, in Westmont, Illinois, Chelios was arrested for driving under the influence. He was the only occupant of the vehicle that was stopped. The vehicle was towed and Chelios was taken to the Westmont station, where he was charged, processed, and posted bond. In March 2010, a judge reviewed the video tape of the arrest. The case was dismissed for lack of probable cause to stop, and evidence the tape provided that Chelios was not impaired.

Malibu Mob[edit]

Chelios maintains a home in Malibu, California, and is well known as a member of the group of celebrity home owners and friends called the Malibu Mob.[28] Other members include John McGinley, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, actor Tony Danza, big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, beach volleyball pro Gabrielle Reece, musician Tim Commerford, Justin Long, Ed O'Neill, Max Wright, Kid Rock, and tennis great John McEnroe.[29]


Chelios has two restaurant/bars in Dearborn (opened in 2003) and Detroit (opened in 2006), Michigan (Cheli's Chili Bar I and Cheli's Chili Bar II). In 2008, he opened a third location in Clinton Township, Michigan. He previously owned a Cheli's Chili Bar on West Madison in Chicago, near the United Center, but this closed after his move to the Red Wings.

On January 2, 2007, two employees of Cheli's in Detroit were fatally stabbed. Megan Soroka, 49, was a manager at the restaurant and Mark Barnard, 52, was a chef. Police arrested Justin Blackshere, 17, who allegedly confessed to the crime. He was a busboy at the restaurant and was fired in November 2006. Blackshere's pregnant girlfriend had also been fired from her job as a dishwasher. Blackshere was found guilty of murder in the first degree on August 22, 2007. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole on September 7, 2007.[30] Chelios took a leave of absence from the Detroit Red Wings to help the families of his murdered employees. He said, "I'll come back when I feel ready and the families feel ready. I'm just going to try to get through this day by day with everybody."[31] On January 9, 2007, the Red Wings announced that Chelios would be playing that night.[32]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

  Regular season Playoffs
1978–79Moose Jaw CanucksSJHL243161968
1979–80Moose Jaw CanucksSJHL53123142118
1980–81Moose Jaw CanucksSJHL54236487175
1981–82Wisconsin BadgersWCHA436434950
1982–83Wisconsin BadgersWCHA4516324862
1983–84Montreal CanadiensNHL12022-512161910317
1984–85Montreal CanadiensNHL7495564118792810217
1985–86Montreal CanadiensNHL4182634467202911349
1986–87Montreal CanadiensNHL71113344-5124174913-138
1987–88Montreal CanadiensNHL712041611417211314329
1988–89Montreal CanadiensNHL80155873351852141519228
1989–90Montreal CanadiensNHL5392231201365011-48
1990–91Chicago BlackhawksNHL77125264231926178246
1991–92Chicago BlackhawksNHL80947562424518615211937
1992–93Chicago BlackhawksNHL84155873142824022-114
1993–94Chicago BlackhawksNHL7616446012212611208
1994–95EHC BielSwiss-A30334
1994–95Chicago BlackhawksNHL48533381772164711612
1995–96Chicago BlackhawksNHL8114587225140903328
1996–97Chicago BlackhawksNHL72103848161126011-28
1997–98Chicago BlackhawksNHL8133942-7151
1998–99Chicago BlackhawksNHL6582634-489
1998–99Detroit Red WingsNHL101125410044-614
1999–00Detroit Red WingsNHL8133134481039011-38
2000–01Detroit Red WingsNHL240334455101-12
2001–02Detroit Red WingsNHL79633394012624113141544
2002–03Detroit Red WingsNHL66217194784000-32
2003–04Detroit Red WingsNHL69219211261801114
2004–05Motor City MechanicsUHL23519241325
2005–06Detroit Red WingsNHL81471122108600026
2006–07Detroit Red WingsNHL7101111113418167712
2007–08Detroit Red WingsNHL693912113614000210
2008–09Detroit Red WingsNHL28000118600002
2008–09Grand Rapids GriffinsAHL201102
2009–10Chicago WolvesAHL4651722342414000012
2009–10Atlanta ThrashersNHL7000-22
NHL totals1,6511857639483502,8912663111314448423


YearTeamEventResult GPGAPtsPIM
1982United StatesWJC6th712310
1984United StatesOly7th60338
1984United StatesCC4th60224
1987United StatesCC5th50223
1991United StatesCC2nd81342
1996United StatesWCH1st704410
1998United StatesOly6th42022
2002United StatesOly2nd61014
2004United StatesWCH4th50116
2006United StatesOly8th60112
Junior totals712310
Senior totals534162040

Awards and honors[edit]

All-WCHA Second Team1982–83
All-NCAA All-Tournament Team1983[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cheli, Shanny headed to Hall of Fame
  2. ^ "Chris Chelios". Hockey Hall of Fame. 
  3. ^ Bob Wolf (July 9, 1988). "LES CANADIENS : CHRIS CHELIOS : He Skated the Long Way to Star Status in the NHL". LA Times. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "MIRA MESA GRAD CHELIOS AMONG HALL INDUCTEES". San Diego Union-Tribune. July 10, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Chris Chelios: Former NHL Star Inducted to 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame Class (digest)". Bleacher Report. 2013-07-09. p. C-1. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  6. ^ "Greg LeMond second in Tour (digest)". Reading Eagle. 1990-07-01. p. C-3. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  7. ^ "Chelios And Suter Charged In Fight". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 1990-07-01. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  8. ^ "Chris Chelios (b. 1962) hockey statistics and profile at". 1962-01-25. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  9. ^ IIHF Top 100 Hockey Stories of All Time, Szymon Szemberg and Andrew Podnieks, p.120, Fenn Publishing, Bolton, Ontario, Canada, 2008, ISBN 978-1-55168-358-4
  10. ^ "CHELIOS SETS AHL RECORD IN GRIFFINS LOSS TO MARLIES". TSN ( 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  11. ^ "Holland: Chelios is not returning to Wings". Associated Press. 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  12. ^ "47-YEAR OLD CHELIOS SIGNS WITH AHL'S WOLVES; TO DEBUT FRIDAY". TSN ( 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  13. ^ "another 25 game tryout, which would bring the total to 50 games.". 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  14. ^ LeBrun, Pierre (2010-03-10). "48-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios called up by Atlanta Thrashers". Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  15. ^ a b c "Chris Chelios Sent Down to Minor Leagues". Associated Press. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  16. ^ " - Chris Chelios". Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  17. ^ Morreale, Mike G. "Thrashers send Chelios back to AHL". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  18. ^ Fox Reports Detroit (6 August 2010). "Report: Chris Chelios retiring". ESPN Chicago. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  19. ^ Malik, George. "Now Red Wings executive Chelios discusses job description". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  20. ^ Lepore, Steve (5 August 2013). "Fox Sports 1 adds to stable with Urlacher, Chelios". SB Nation. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Top Level Hockey World Rankings - Players". EVCco. 2010-03-21. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  22. ^ Dean Chelios's hockey statistics profile at
  23. ^ CCHA Team Michigan State Roster
  24. ^ 1981 NHL Entry Draft - Chris Chelios
  25. ^ CCH Xtreme
  26. ^ ESPN - ESPN The Magazine
  27. ^ [1][dead link]
  28. ^ "Wings veteran Chelios a member of 'The Malibu Mob'". May 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  29. ^ MSN TV Blog: Paging Dr. Cox: 'Scrubs' Doc John C. McGinley Dishes on His Motor-Mouthed Alter Ego, His Famous Friends and His Elle MacPherson Jones
  30. ^ ESPN - Ex-busboy sentenced to life for slayings in Chelios' Detroit restaurant - NHL
  31. ^ "Sporting News - Real Insight. Real Fans. Real Conversations". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  32. ^ ESPN - Chelios returning to Red Wings on Tuesday night - NHL
  33. ^ "NCAA Frozen Four Records". Retrieved 2013-06-19. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Peter Laviolette
US Men's Olympic Hockey Team Captain
1998, 2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Jamie Langenbrunner
Preceded by
Dirk Graham
Chicago Blackhawks captain
Succeeded by
Doug Gilmour
Preceded by
Bob Gainey
Montreal Canadiens captain
with Guy Carbonneau
Succeeded by
Guy Carbonneau
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Paul Coffey
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Brian Leetch
Preceded by
Brian Leetch
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Ray Bourque
Preceded by
Ray Bourque
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Ray Bourque
Preceded by
Joe Sakic and Patrik Eliáš
Winner of the NHL Plus/Minus Award
Succeeded by
Peter Forsberg and Milan Hejduk