TRAVERSE CITY — It may be hard to believe, but as a kid, Chris Chelios didn’t even really want to play hockey.
Baseball was his sport of choice.
Decades later, he’s a hockey Hall of Famer. The former Detroit Red Wings defenseman was announced as an inductee along with Wings teammate Brendan Shanahan on Tuesday, one day before helping the team coach its prospects at the Red Wings Development Camp in Traverse City.
“My goal as a kid was not to play in the NHL,” Chelios said. “It was more to play for the White Sox or the Cubs. I loved baseball. At one point in my life, my dad ended my baseball career. I won’t get into that. But for whatever reason, I was put on the Earth to play hockey. Everything that could go against me for awhile did. And then like overnight, everything went my way, starting in Moose Jaw. I understand how lucky I am. It’s not an individual award, when it boils down to it. I have some great teammates, coaches and being on some great teams. I can’t be any happier. It’s more exciting for my family and friends, not that I’m not excited. I don’t think it’s sunk in until I’m sitting on that podium Nov. 11.”
Now he has to face something that scares him more than going toe-to-toe with the most skilled National Hockey League forward — making a speech at the induction ceremony.
“That’s my biggest fear,” Chelios said. “Having to get up there in front of a bunch of people.
“Having played so long, it’s going to be tough. You can’t thank everybody. But at the end of the day, I had a lot of help along the line. The speech will be a thank-you speech to everyone that played a part in my career.”