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Chris Chelios, Gary Suter enter U.S. Hall of Fame together

Updated: January 14, 2012 8:19AM

Chris Chelios’ father didn’t want his son to have to work in a restaurant like he did.

The NHL, let alone a Hall of Fame career of any type, was never a dream they had while Chelios was growing up in Evergreen Park.

“[Hockey] was never a serious thing; I played for fun,” Chelios said Monday before being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Renaissance Chicago hotel. “I worked in the [Greek] restaurants [he owned] with him. The only thing he told me was, ‘You’re going to college. You’re not going to do what I did for the last 50 years and end up cooking and cleaning a restaurant for the rest of your life. You’re going to get an education.’ ’’

Chelios’ love of the game and his father’s wishes took him to the University of Wisconsin before a remarkable 26-year NHL career that included a nine-year stint with his hometown Blackhawks.

“To be able to play for the Hawks was the luckiest break I could ever get,” Chelios said. “My only regret is not finishing it off and winning a Cup here.”

Chicago would be the only place Chelios didn’t win. He won Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986 and Detroit Red Wings in ’02 and ’08.

Chelios also won the Norris Trophy three times as the league’s best defenseman, was a member of the U.S. team that won the 1996 World Cup and captained the United States to the silver medal at the 1998 Salt Lake City Olympics. But one of his fondest memories was being in his hometown for the 1991 All-Star Game during the Gulf War.

‘‘I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about the anthem,” Chelios said.

Also inducted was Gary Suter, Chelios’ former Hawks teammate and fellow defenseman.

“It means a lot,” Suter said. “We’ve known each other for 30 years.”

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