Chelios recognized for performance, charitable efforts

Detroit's Chris Chelios has been named the first recipient of the Mark Messier Leader of the Year award, honoring the defenseman's on-ice performance, his leadership skills and charitable efforts.

Chris Chelios


Messier, the retired New York Rangers star, announced the award
Wednesday. Its sponsor, a diet supplement company, will donate
$25,000 to a charity of Chelios' choice.

"He's been tremendous for a long time," Messier told The
Associated Press. "It would have been nice to have a chance to
play with him at some point in my career. Everybody that's played
with him just has raved about what a great guy he was to play

The 45-year-old Chelios averaged more than 20 minutes on the ice
during Detroit's playoff run. The 11-time NHL All-Star is second in
career playoff games.

"I strongly believe that an important part of being an athlete
is to do my best to give back to the community whenever possible,"
Chelios said in a statement.

Since its inception in 1992, Cheli's Children's Foundation has
given more than $2 million to children's charities in Detroit and
Chelios' hometown of Chicago.