Chelios leads class of 5 into US hockey hall

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 12, 2011
Chris Chelios led a class of five inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night. The three-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Olympian was joined by fellow defenseman Gary Suter, who played with Chelios at the University of Wisconsin and for the Chicago Blackhawks, forward Keith Tkachuk, Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider and broadcaster Mike Emrick. ''In my generation of players, there weren't a lot of kids who played organized hockey,'' Chelios said. ''Maybe a handful of us continued on to a college career. It wasn't as easy as today. American kids were playing baseball and football, and developed a little later. So those two years you need to grow, physically, there wasn't anywhere to play.'' Chelios played for three Stanley Cup teams, one for Montreal and two for Detroit, in 26 seasons. Suter was the NHL's top rookie for Calgary in 1985-86. Tkachuk scored 538 goals in 19 NHL seasons, and, like Chelios, played on four Olympic teams. Snider was among the Flyers' founders in 1966. Emrick, the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC and Versus, has called 13 Stanley Cup finals. Tkachuk, who played for Winnipeg, Phoenix, St. Louis and Atlanta, had a vivid memory of one encounter with Chelios. ''Cheli and I tangled at Chicago Stadium, got me in a headlock and I couldn't breathe,'' Tkachuk said, grinning. ''I was down to my last breath.'' Chelios remembered Tkachuk ''turning colors. I let him go right at the last second, but I could have made him pass out easy if I wanted to. And he knew it.'' The two teammates on Olympic squads and during the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, in which the U.S. came back from losing the first game to sweep the last two games on Canadian ice. Suter was also on that team, Snider hosted the first game in the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers' then-new building, and Emrick called the contests on American television. ''This means everything to me,'' Tkachuk said. ''I'm only retired for two years, and to go in with this class is amazing.'' Tkachuk scored 538 goals in 19 NHL seasons, but counted the World Cup victory as his top achievement. ''That generated great momentum, not only for me, but for U.S. hockey in general,'' Tkachuk said. Suter's 17-year pro career opened in Calgary, where he was named the NHL's top rookie in 1985-86, and went through Chicago and San Jose. Like Chelios and Tkachuk, he was inspired by the American hockey victory in the 1980 Olympics. ''That was so unexpected, but in 1996, we were a good solid team, among the top four in the world. I think winning that had a similar effect to 1980 on kids, and American hockey has continued to get stronger.'' Snider's stewardship of the Flyers commenced with the team's founding in 1966. He helped grow a small business into a corporation that became a unit of Comcast, but said he was prouder of his foundation's taking over the hockey rinks in Philadelphia's park system and creating educational programs associated with hockey for disadvantaged youths to flourish. ''We have a 94 percent graduation rate, compared to 54 percent for the city,'' Snider said. ''We used hockey as the hook. It's the only thing I've put my name on. It's my legacy. It will last forever.'' Emrick's dream of being an NHL broadcaster started in the corner of the rink in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he called minor-league games into a tape recorder for practice. Decades later, the voice of 13 Stanley Cup Finals, and the lead announcer for hockey on NBC and Versus, still has boyish enthusiasm. ''I get in free, I still get a good seat for the game, and I still like doing that,'' Emrick said. ''So until my bosses don't want me doing that, or I'm unhappy with my work, I'll do it.''
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test


Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker