Chelios back in the fold - for now
While the vast majority of those in attendance at the Detroit Red Wings development are new to wearing the winged wheel, one fellow on the ice is back home again.
Chris Chelios has returned to the Red Wings fold - for now. He is serving as an instructor during the team’s camp in Traverse City, Mich.
Chelios, who originally became a member of the Wings organization after he was acquired in a 1999 deadline-day deal from the Chicago Blackhawks, and more recently has served the club in a coaching/instructor/advisor role, stepped away from the team briefly to explore other opportunities in hockey, a survey he continues to fill out.
Since one of those possible jobs was with the NHLPA, he needed to be free of any attachment to management of an NHL team in order to pursue it.
“Basically I took a leave of absence,” was how Chelios explained it. “They call it a termination, which is kind of a harsh word. But I took a leave of absence so I could talk to the PA, talk to players and see if there’s anything that might be able to find something I might want to do.
“Not that I’m not happy, I love working with Blash (Detroit coach Jeff Blashill) and the Wings here. I just wanted to see. Good players were reaching out to me, so I had to resign so it wasn’t a conflict.”
In the end, Chelios determined that it wasn’t the occupation for him. “I don’t know, the lawyers, mumbo jumbo, but anyway, I’ve done that, now I’m back with the Wings,” Chelios said. “I’m the same position now with the Wings. I’m still with the Red Wings organization and I plan to be unless something comes up that interests me more.”
Not that he’s done exploring, mind you.
“There’s still some other things I’m looking at, with the U.S. teams and stuff like that,” Chelios said.
Perhaps the most famous player to ever wear the USA Hockey jersey, Chelios, who has coached in their national team program, would seem a natural fit with that organization.
“Yeah, I’ve been talking to (USA Hockey director of hockey operations) Jimmy Johannson,” Chelios said. “I’ve got a part-time role with the Wings and I enjoy that, I enjoy my freedom. But again, I just wanted to see if there’s any other things that might interest me.”
A couple of the Detroit prospects have caught the eye of Hall of Fame defenseman Chelios. He admired the skill set of Yale defenseman Adam Larkin, a camp invitee who is the cousin of Wings center Dylan Larkin.
“I looked at Larkin today,” Chelios said. “I know it’s only practice for an hour, he looks like he’s really skilled, got some great feet, great hands.”
Filip Hronek, a 2016 Red Wings second round draftee who was MVP of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit last season and finished up his campaign with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, was another who turned Chelios’ head, even if he also twisted his tongue.
“The Czech kid - I can’t pronounce his name, starts with an H,” Chelios said. “He was really good in the hour that we spent here.
“It’s amazing again, you see the speed and the agility some of the defensemen, how quick they are.”
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