Chris Chelios Found Out His Number Was Being Retired at a Pearl Jam Concert

To be fair, that was the plan

Chris Chelios
Chris Chelios demonstrates his skill in the same year that Pearl Jam's "Yield" was released.
Robert Laberge /Allsport

It’s not quite the stuff of heist movies, but when it came to letting hockey great and Hall of Famer Chris Chelios know that his jersey was being retired, the Chicago Blackhawks figured out an unorthodox and intricate way of delivering the news. Here’s a hint: it involved a band from Seattle — one whose vocalist has a long history with Chelios.

As the Associated Press reported (via The Guardian), Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder let Chelios (and the audience) know about the team’s decision to retire jersey number 7 when the band played the United Center — which, not coincidentally, is also where the Blackhawks play.

Vedder related the message that the Blackhawks’ late owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz had expressed his support for honoring Chelios in this way prior to Wirtz’s death in July. The jersey will be formally retired on February 25, 2024, when Chicago hosts another team where Chelios spent a large chunk of his career — the Detroit Red Wings.

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Vedder grew up not far from Chicago, in Evanston — and his long-running friendship with Chelios includes a memorable night of karaoke after taking in a White Sox game in 2012. As for Chelios, his playing days are long over, but he has kept busy with other business ventures — including a few forays into the restaurant world, as well as a very tasty tequila.

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