Printed on: July 10, 2013

Chelios, Niedermayer to join Hall

By LARRY LAGE
AP Hockey Writer

Chris Chelios played in the NHL for as long as he could.

And he did it at a high level.

"I always said I'd go right until the tank was empty," he said. "And, I believe I did."

Chelios and fellow defensemen Scott Niedermayer along with forward Brendan Shanahan found out Tuesday they will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November.

Only Hall of Famer Gordie Howe was an older NHL player than Chelios, the only player in league history to play in at least 400 games with three different teams.

"I was part of an era. Chris was part of a few," Niedermayer joked.

Chelios, Niedermayer and Shanahan will be joined in the 2013 class by Geraldine Heaney, the third woman to be enshrined in the hall.

Chelios and Niedermayer earned hockey's biggest individual honor in their first year of eligibility, and Shanahan got in on his second shot.

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello raved about all three players, each of whom he had a connection to during their careers.

Shanahan was a teammate of Chelios' in Detroit, and played with Niedermayer during the Olympics in 2002 when Canada won gold by beating Chelios and the Americans in Salt Lake City.

"When you got to play with them, it was a thrill," Shanahan said. "I spent some years playing with Cheli, and there's not another guy that you would want to go into a tough situation looking out for you.

Shanahan and Niedermayer are members of what's known as the Triple Gold Club, a group of players who have won the worlds, the Olympics and a Stanley Cup.

Niedermayer won four Stanley Cups in 17 full NHL seasons to go along with a Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy. He played for the New Jersey Devils from 1991-92 through the 2003-04 season and finished his career in Anaheim in 2010.

Heaney was a defenseman on Canada's gold-medal-winning team at the 2002 Olympics and is considered one of the best female players in history.

"As a young girl, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be going into the hall," she said.