Chelios in 1999

Chris Chelios heads up ice with the puck against Calgary. (Charles Cherney / Chicago Tribune / March 17, 1999)

Chris Chelios played on some of the most electrifying Blackhawks teams ever, teaming with the likes of Jeremy Roenick and Ed Belfour on a memorable Stanley Cup Final run in the early '90s.

So how would his squad fare against the current bunch?

"I don’t know if we could even outmuscle them or try to run them out of the building because it's not working for St. Louis either," he said. "It's a different game, the speed. They've got a team with so much skill. I wouldn’t give us a chance."

The last time a Chelios took center stage at Wrigley Field, Chris was leading the hated Detroit Red Wings onto the ice against the Blackhawks on a snowy winter afternoon in 2009.

This time around, Chelios was out of uniform and in a suite, playing the role of proud papa enjoying a beer as his daughter Caley, a defenseman for the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team, played in the first lacrosse game at Wrigley in nearly 100 years.

"She’s enjoying it," said Chelios, now a member of the Red Wings' front office, said. "It's the first time ever [for Northwestern], history again at Wrigley Field. She was looking forward to this just like the rest of her teammates. It's been a great night."

Like any good father, Chelios goes out of his way to support his children. In advance of Saturday night’s game against USC, he did Caley, her teammates and their classmates a solid by buying and distributing 500 tickets free to Northwestern students.

His logic?

"[There's] nothing worse than playing in an empty building," he said. "It's always fun for the players when you've got more people to create a little bit of an atmosphere."

When Caley’s Wildcats beat USC 12-7, it took some of the sting out of the day for Chelios.

Hours earlier, his Red Wings had been eliminated in the NHL playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

While this year was a down one for the Wings, the possibility remains that there could someday be a Stanley Cup Final matchup between Chelios' former team and his current one.

"It ain't gonna happen this year," he said. "Hopefully it'll happen in the near future. It's been a great rivalry over the years."

Caley isn't the only Chelios child making a name for herself athletically, either.

Chris' two sons, Jake and Dean, are both following in their dad's footsteps on the ice. Dean's a senior forward at Michigan State while Jake, a defenseman, has already gotten a shot with one of his father's former franchises, the Chicago Wolves.

While Chelios is proud of his sons, don't expect to see the three of them skating a shift together anytime soon.

"No chance," the 52-year-old said. "Those days are over. It's [their] turn."

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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