After an NHL career that spanned an unbelievable 26 seasons, defenseman Chris Chelios finally decided to step away from the game during this past season, at the age of 49. The Hockey Hall Of Fame, unlike other halls of fame does not have a waiting requirement for induction, so like a number of greats before him, Chelios will go straight into the hall of fame after his retirement, joining four others in the class of 2011.
Chelios played a total of 1,651 games in his NHL career, winning the Stanley Cup twice and the Norris Trophy - the award given out yearly to the best defenseman - three gimes.
Interestingly enough, Chelios and the other four inductees in this year's Hockey Hall Of Fame class all have a common link. Chelios, Keith Tkachuk, Gary Suter, team owner Ed Snider and broadcaster Mike Emrick were all involved in some way, shape or form with the United States' 1996 World Cup of Hockey triumph. Chelios, Tkachuck and Suter played on the team while Emerick broadcasted the game and Snider let Philadelphia serve as the team's home base.
Tkachuk played over 1,200 NHL games, mostly with the St. Louis Blues, and made five all-star teams. Suter was a great offensive defenseman who played in 1,145 games and won one Stanley Cup, with the Calgary Flames in 1989. Snider founded the Philadelphia Flyers and they have won the Stanley Cup twice under his ownership. Last but not least, arguably the best hockey announcer of his generation, Mike Emrick is now moving into his fourth decade of announcing professional hockey. He recently left his job as the voice of the New Jersey Devils to work full time for NBC Sports.