Chris Chelios

Chris Chelios shares unbelievable, supernatural Dick Butkus story

Butkus was one of Chelios' childhood heroes

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One of Chris Chelios' childhood heroes was Bears linebacker Dick Butkus.

Both Chicago natives and sports legends, the two are now the only Chicago athletes to have their jerseys retired in their hometown. On Sunday, the Blackhawks put Chelios' No. 7 in the United Center rafters.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Chelios told an unbelievable story, underlining the specialness of the day.

"I'm only one of two Chicago-born athletes to have their jersey retired in their hometown," Chelios saidIt just so happened that he was one of my childhood heroes: Dick Butkus. He was the epitome of the South Side of Chicago. Big, mean, tough. And they say be careful meeting your heroes, sometimes you're disappointed. But he didn't disappoint. I've known Dick for 20 years and his wife Helen and their kids. Just an amazing person and I am honored to be a friend of his.

"And this is a crazy story that happened just this morning you're going to think I'm not telling the truth. I'm known for taking saunas, right? I used to take saunas all the time. So this morning, I go take my sauna at Red's Square the Russian bathhouse over on Division Street.

"As I'm checking in, there's these two big guys standing at the front desk --- and this is no word of lie. One of them turns around, it was like I was looking at a ghost. I'm kinda looking, and my eyes, my heart just dropped. And the other kid turns around and he's even bigger. It's Dick Butkus' nephews, Luke and Zach Butkus.

"So if that's not a sign from Dick, I don't know what is. That's crazy."

On Sunday, the Blackhawks honored Chris Chelios by retiring his No. 7. Before they raised his jersey to the rafters, Chris Chelios gave a speech thanking fans, teammates and friends

Unbelievable. What a way to start the day your jersey will forever be cemented by the Blackhawks.

Butkus died just months ago in October 2023. He was 80.

Over his career, Butkus earned eight Pro Bowl nods, five All-Pro selections and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His No. 51 was retired by the Bears.

It's heartwarming to hear his name again from Chelios, who admired Butkus and keeps his memory alive.

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