Friday, April 19, 2024

Chris Chelios Jersey Retirement Brings Icons, Electric Moments To United Center

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From the moment the Blackhawks announced that Chris Chelios’ No. 7 jersey would be raised to the rafters at the United Center, Feb. 25 has been circled on the calendar for the team and more than a few fans as the most highly anticipated night of the season.

The entire day at the UC blew every one of those expectations out of the water. Sure, much of the hype surrounding the Blackhawks’ evening game against the Red Wings was focused on the first return of Patrick Kane to Chicago as a visitor, and his on-ice moments, including an overtime game-winner, added to an electric atmosphere.

But a crowd of over 21,000 fans was largely drawn to the arena Sunday night to honor one of the greatest defensemen in franchise history in Chris Chelios. The day of festivities began nearly three hours before puck drop, and Chicago certainly got the memo:

An atrium panel featuring Ed Belfour, Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, and Denis Savard kicked things off inside the building, and the turnout was, well…

The turnout in Chicago to honor Chelios consisted of more than just diehard fans. Though Michael Jordan unexpectedly didn’t make it (though he recorded a video to honor the Blackhawks legend), stars like Wayne Gretzky, Dennis Rodman, John McEnroe, and countless others were in the building.

Speaking of stars, the second intermission didn’t disappoint either:

Of the entrances of those icons, none compared to that of Connor Bedard, who used his entrance as a nod to the Blackhawks great.

Bedard may have pulled it off best, but his wasn’t the only black #7 jersey in the house:

After all the festivities, the actual moment had to come eventually. He and the Blackhawks certainly pulled out all the stops to retire his jersey in style.

In what clearly hasn’t been the best season on the ice for the Blackhawks, Sunday’s festivities were a bright spot for the entire franchise. Chicago paid tribute to one of its all-time greats and did so in style.

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