Chelios recognized for performance, charitable efforts

Updated: May 31, 2007, 9:48 PM ET
Associated Press

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 with."

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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press