NHL Fanhouse Article
This article is kinda harsh but funny at the same time.
It's amazing how fast a story can change. Just 48 days ago, Chris Chelios was an inspiration. Today, he's pathetic.
In November, I watched Chelios, the 47-year-old future Hall of Famer, practice with a bunch of kids on his minor league hockey team, the Chicago Wolves, in his attempt to get back to the NHL. We talked, and then I celebrated his unwillingness to give in, to grow up.
Now, I have one thing to say to him: For heaven's sake, Chris, just grow up already.
Chelios was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and speeding on Dec. 28 in a Chicago suburb. He was arrested at 4:12 a.m. Police in suburban Westmont have declined to release his blood alcohol level.
"The biggest issue for me is enjoying myself,'' he said in November. "I'm not worried about my legacy. I'll know when to quit. I'm not going to embarrass myself.''
You've embarrassed yourself.
A few weeks ago, Chelios' story seemed to be about a guy who wanted to play it out for all his body would give him, to get every last drop out of himself. We see athletes go on too long and embarrass themselves but Chelios didn't seem like that at all.
He was playing in the NHL just last year, and he's still got it, though in shorter stretches. The Phoenix Coyotes were already interested in him.
Now, he looks like a sad overage frat boy. Is that all this was about, an unwillingness to come home from the party?
For some reason, I'm thinking about Al Bundy, still living in his high school football days.
Chelios is going to turn 48 in a few weeks. He has made millions of dollars. And he can't take a cab home after having a few too many drinks?
Let's not pretend that drinking isn't a part of hockey culture. We've heard about post-game pacts -- coaches must stay in the hotel bar, while players have to go elsewhere.
In November, some of the kids on the Chicago Wolves talked about following his example, watching his amazing work ethic. But I'm not even sure whether those kids are going to be affected. They already know the hockey culture.
I suppose he doesn't really have to be a role model to his teammates, even though many of them probably idolized him when they were kids. But while an arrest is not a conviction, there is no way to understand why a man of his age and this stature would allow himself to be caught with his pants down like this.
The Wolves declined to comment, calling it a "personal issue.''
Here is a former Olympian, a Stanley Cup champ, willing to move back in with his parents -- and his son -- near Chicago while his wife and daughters stayed behind in Detroit.
He didn't want to uproot them. He was willing to put off his personal life a little longer, travel with a bunch of young hopefuls on a bus, sharing hotel rooms, playing on 25-day contracts in a league that pays in the mid-five figures.
Fourteen players on the team weren't born until after he had started in the NHL. In practice, he was skating around on a half-ice with twice as many players as would fit, a bunch of young kids, and one guy with gray in his beard, not working hard, but having fun.
A few days earlier, a 1950s song came over the p.a. in the locker room, and the team started teasing him: "Chelios. Is that your iPod?" You could cherish him for the fight, and for his commitment, not to mention his age-defying act.
He wasn't pathetic then. But that was 48 days ago.