Chris Chelios (pronounced /ˈtʃɛli.oʊs/; born Christos Kostas Tselios on January 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American professional ice hockey defenseman currently with the Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL. Chelios has played in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. He played in the NHL from the 1983–84 to 2008–09 seasons, and earned many awards during his long career. In 2008–09, Chelios was the oldest active player in the NHL, had played the most games of any active player in the NHL, and had the most career penalty minutes of any active player. On November 24, 2006, he played in his 1,496th NHL game, the most of any American-born player, passing the record total of Phil Housley. In the 2008–09 season, he appeared in the playoffs for an NHL record 24th time, having missed the playoffs only once (1997–98) in his entire career. Chelios is of Greek heritage. His cousin, Nikos Tselios, also played professional hockey and was a former first round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Chelios was raised in Evergreen Park and was a standout youth hockey player. He briefly attended Mount Carmel High School, but moved to Southern California in 1977. Attending San Diego's Mira Mesa High School until his graduation in 1979, Chelios has been honored in the Marauders' Hall of Fame. As a teenager, he was twice cut by Junior B teams in Canada and hit a low point when he had to borrow money from strangers to get home to California one year. Chelios said, "I wasn't any bigger or any better than the other guys, so they weren't going to take a kid from the States when they could have a local guy."
He returned home and grew three inches while adding 40 pounds of muscle. He was then drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to that, he played for the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where he tallied 87 points and 175 penalty minutes in just 54 games in his final season. Chelios enjoyed two strong years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison after being drafted. As one of the top collegiate players in the country, he was selected for the United States at the 1981–82 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. In 1983, he was part of the Badgers' NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship team and was named to the all-tournament team and the second WCHA all-star team.