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Red Wings’ Chris Chelios wants to work toward a different kind of player development job

Red Wings executive Chris Chelios has been mentoring the organization's top defensive prospects for some time now, and over the past two seasons, he's begun to help the Grand Rapids Griffins' coaches hold practice on increasingly regular bases. This week, Chelios is taking partin Wayne Gretzky's fantasy hockey camp in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he spoke to NHL.com's Dan Rosen about his desire to eventually make coaching his full-time job, despite currently spending his time learning managerial ropes in the hockey operations category:

"Basically, I'm learning how to coach," Chelios told NHL.com Tuesday from the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp.

Chelios, who turned 51 last week, works primarily with the defensemen for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate. His title is Advisor to Hockey Operations, but he sees himself as an on-ice coach, a helping hand to first-year coach Jeff Blashill.

"I spend three or four days a week there, go on the ice with them, work with the young defensemen," Chelios said. "It's been great. I'm really enjoying it. It's one thing to play and it's another to get behind the bench and coach. There's a lot to it. It's been a great experience for me."

Chelios made a pledge to his kids to remain as available as possible for them during their collegiate careers, and but his sons Dean and Jake are a year away from graduating from Michigan State University, where they play on Tom Anastos' team, and Chelios's daughters are of college age as well. As such, Chelios would like to become something more than an informal assistant to Griffins coach Jeff Blashill sooner than later, and within a few years, Mike Babcock may find someone he used to spar with in the locker room and on the bench instead aiding his cause--assuming he doesn't follow his sons along their desired path toward earning a living playing hockey professionally:

"It's going to depend on my sons, who are graduating next year," Chelios said. "If they happen to be good enough to make it to the minors I may consider helping them out as an assistant coach where they go. My youngest son [Jake], this is his first year on defense, so I'd like to work with him. If I'm going to get on a bus or travel, it's going to be with them."

For now, Chelios scratches his itch and gets his competitive juices flowing working with the Griffins.

"That's a blast," he said. "You get to actually be part of a team again and wanting to win. You play a hand in it. You watch these kids develop and it's great. I see two guys now playing for the Wings, [Brian] Lashoff and Brendan Smith, and I had been working with them for the past two years. You get a lot of satisfaction bringing those guys along."

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w2j2's avatar

Chelios will be a fun coach to watch.
He will follow in the great tradition of h*ll-raisers on the bench.
Good on him!

Posted by w2j2 on 01/29/13 at 05:42 PM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Seems like a good time to bring this one out. Maybe he’ll be like his first coach, Jules:

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 01/29/13 at 06:16 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Seems like a natural fit - the guy eats hockey for breakfast every morning.  It would be great to seem him behind the bench some day.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 01/29/13 at 06:30 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

IMO Cheli has the potential to be a good, fiery coach.  He might have to work w/ Q a bit before he graduates though.  That could be his thesis.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 01/29/13 at 07:15 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.