Chris Chelios

Watch as Eddie Vedder, Hawks surprise Chris Chelios onstage during Pearl Jam concert

"Before Mr. Wirtz passed, it was one of his last wishes that you would be honored," Vedder said, pointing to a jumbo screen as played highlights of Chelios' career

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It was a surprising night for both fans and Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios as Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam made a big announcement just ahead of their encore at the United Center Thursday.

After calling Chelios onstage, Vedder handed him a jersey to put on before offering a tribute to late Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who recently passed away. The crowd turned on their lights as Chelios led them in a "Rocky" chant.

But then, Vedder offered another message to his close friend.

"Before Mr. Wirtz passed, it was one of his last wishes that you would be honored," Vedder said, pointing to a jumbo screen as it began to play highlights of Chelios' career.

At the end of the video, it was revealed Chelios' No. 7 would be retired.

The team confirmed the news in a late press release following the onstage announcement.

Chelios will have his number retired on Feb. 25, 2024, against the Detroit Red Wings, with whom he won two of his three Stanley Cups.

"We are entering a new era of Blackhawks hockey on the ice, but the importance of honoring past members of this organization is, and always will be, a priority," Blackhawks chairman and CEO Danny Wirtz said in a statement. "Chris Chelios represents not only the Blackhawks, but, given his roots here, the city of Chicago. Rocky wanted Chris to be the next Blackhawk to have his jersey retired and would have loved to see this moment. We look forward to celebrating Chris’ career in February with his family, friends, and sharing it all with Blackhawks fans.”

"We are thrilled to have Chris Chelios’ number hang forever in the United Center rafters," Blackhawks president of business operations Jaime Faulkner said in a statement. "There is a lot to come for the organization as we celebrate achievements of the many great players who have worn the Blackhawks sweater. With our upcoming Centennial celebration during the 2025-26 season, plans to celebrate our alumni and additional jersey retirements will continue to
emerge as we look forward to sharing that with our fans.”

Chelios will become the ninth player in franchise history to have his number retired.

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