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Blackhawks implement new guidelines for future number retirements

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – NOVEMBER 20: Marian Hossa poses with the Stanley Cup and former teammates during his jersey retirement ceremony prior to the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins at United Center on November 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks have implemented new organizational standards that will guide decisions about future number retirements, according to sources.

The news comes after Chris Chelios was surprised by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder with an announcement on Thursday night at the United Center that the former Chicago captain will have his No. 7 retired by the Blackhawks on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024 against the Detroit Red Wings. He will become the ninth player in franchise history to have his jersey hanging from the rafters.

Among the highlights of the new guidelines, per sources:

  • Player must be retired for at least three years, which doesn't include long-term injured reserve
  • Minimum of eight years and 500 games played with the Blackhawks for skaters; 400 games played with the team for goaltenders
  • Hockey Hall of Famer or has played at least 1,000 games (700 for a goaltender)
  • Played more games with the Blackhawks than any other team during NHL career
  • Among the most prolific Blackhawks at his position, as evidenced by on-ice performance, All-Star selections and major NHL Awards
  • Exhibited (and continues to exhibit) strong off-ice character
  • Changed the game of hockey
  • Additional consideration will be given to members of the Stanley Cup winning teams with the Blackhawks, along with the entire body of work by a player to the organization, which includes time as a broadcaster and ambassador

In addition, the Blackhawks have set the precedent that the same number can be retired twice. And it doesn't necessarily have to be done at the same time.

Brent Seabrook, of course, is the player that comes to mind after the Chelios announcement, given they share a number. He fits the criteria, but Seabrook wouldn't be eligible to have his jersey retired until 2027 since he's still under contract with an NHL team.

Expect there to be more number retirements in the future, especially with the centennial season approaching in 2025-26.

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