Monday night two of the University of Wisconsin's most accomplished athletes were on hand in Chicago to receive one American hockey's greatest honors.
Former Badgers Chris Chelios and Gary Suter were honored by USA Hockey by being formally enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame along with Keith Tkachuk, Ed Snider, and Mike "Doc" Emerick.
Chelios, a Chicago, IL native played two seasons for the Badgers from 1981-1983. The blue-liner made an instant impact when he arrived in Madison recording more than a point per game in both seasons as a Badger. Chelios finished his Wisconsin career with 97 points in 88 career games.
Despite being a Badger for only two seasons, Chelios was able to be a major part of an important team. In 1983 Chelios was named to the All-tournament team as the Badgers won the national championship.
Local legend Gary Suter, a Madison native, picked up at Wisconsin where Chelios left off. Suter joined the Badgers in the fall of 1983 right after Chelios left school to join the United States Olympic team. Suter recorded 73 points in 74 career games for Wisconsin over two seasons before turning pro and signing with the Calgary Flames.
Gary, who is part of the famed Suter family which is hockey royalty in Wisconsin, is the brother of Bob from the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, and uncle of Ryan, currently a defenseman with the Nashville Predators. Gary Suter was given the Spike Carlson MVP award for his play in '84-'85 when he recorded 51 points in 39 games while playing stellar defensively for the Badgers. Suter was also awarded the Ivan B. Williamson Scholastic, and Fenton Kelsey, Jr. Most Competitive Player awards the same season.
Suter and Chelios join former Wisconsin head coach, Badger Bob Johnson and former players Mark Johnson and Mike Richter as well as Gary's brother Bob who was inducted with the entire 1980 U.S. Gold Medal Olympic team in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
While Suter and Chelios were both great Badgers, they made their names forever know as hockey players after leaving Madison. Chelios played part of 26 professional seasons in the NHL for four franchises. Chelios is the all time leader for NHL games played by a defenseman.
The California born Chelios won three Stanley Cups, two with the Detroit Red Wings and one with the Montreal Canadiens. Chelios was a three time winner of the James Norris trophy which is given out to the NHL's best defenseman and was a eleven time NHL All-Star.
Internationally Chelios is one of the most instrumental players in United States history. Chelios played in four Olympic games for the red, white and blue capturing a silver medal with the 2002 team in Salt Lake City. Chelios captained the team in '98, '02, and '06. He was also a member of the 1984 team. Chelios represented the United States in 10 international events.
Suter burst onto the scene right away in his professional career winning the Calder Trophy in 1986 which is given to the NHL's top rookie when he recorded 68 points in 80 games for the Flames. Suter was the first American born player to win the Calder Trophy in NHL history.
Suter went on to play 17 seasons in the NHL winning a Stanley Cup in with Calgary in 1989. Suter also played for the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks before retiring from the game in 2002. Suter represented the United States in eight international events including the Olympics twice. Suter won a silver medal along with Chelios in 2002.
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