Chicago Blackhawks retire Chris Chelios' No. 7 jersey

Blackhawks retire Chris Chelios' jersey before the game (0:24)

The Blackhawks honor Chris Chelios before their game against the Red Wings by retiring his number seven. (0:24)

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks retired Chris Chelios' No. 7 jersey Sunday during a pregame ceremony that highlighted the defenseman's hard-charging lifestyle on and off the ice.

Prior to a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Chelios, dressed in all black and surrounded by family, friends and former teammates, blew kisses to the cheering crowd after he was introduced. There were chants of "Cheli! Cheli!"

"The path, the journey, where we came from, where I came from, it's so hard to believe this is happening," Chelios said.

Chelios, 62, a Chicago native, played for his hometown team from 1990 until he was traded to Detroit in March 1999. He had 92 goals and 395 assists in 664 regular-season games with the Blackhawks. He remains the team's career leader with 1,495 penalty minutes.

"He was the ultimate competitor, the ultimate leader and ultimate friend," former teammate Jeremy Roenick said.

Chelios played in the NHL for 26 seasons, helped in part by a rigorous workout routine that included riding a bike in a sauna. He also played hard off the ice, partying into the night at a handful of his favorite Chicago bars on countless memorable evenings.

"The best advice I ever got in my career was from him," former Blackhawks defenseman Gary Suter said. "'If you drink beer at night, you've got to sweat it out the next day.'"

Said Roenick: "Nobody throws a party like Chris Chelios."

Chelios began his career with Montreal and played for the Canadiens for seven seasons. The three-time Stanley Cup champion was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

He was a three-time Norris Trophy winner -- awarded to the NHL's top defenseman -- including twice during his time in Chicago. He has been serving as a team ambassador for the Blackhawks.

"Playing against him, you knew you were in for a tough night," said former NHL forward Tony Amonte, who played alongside and against Chelios. "He'd have five or six sticks taped and they weren't to shoot pucks. They were to break arms. He's a beast. He does everything to an extreme."

Chelios is the ninth player to have his number retired by the franchise, joining Glenn Hall (No. 1), Pierre Pilote (No. 3), Keith Magnuson (No. 3), Bobby Hull (No. 9), Denis Savard (No. 18), Stan Mikita (No. 21), Tony Esposito (No. 35) and Marian Hossa (No. 81).

Like Pilote and Magnuson, Chelios could have some company with No. 7 in the rafters at some point. Brent Seabrook was a key defenseman on three Stanley Cup champions in Chicago, also wearing No. 7.