The Big League
Chelios's first National Hockey League (NHL) game was in March of 1984, at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. He remembered it to Sports Illustrated reporter Jay Greenberg in 1990: "I was lined up across from James Patrick, whom I had played against at Moose Jaw, then when he was at the University of North Dakota, and then when he played for the Canadian Olympic Team. We were thinking the same thing, because we had these big grins on our faces. I was like a ten-year-old."
Chelios quickly established himself in Montreal, which won the Stanley Cup in his third season there. On the ice, he was known for his daring offensive plays and hard-hitting defensive style. Off of the ice, he was widely credited with a great deal of carousing, although Chelios says that stories of his exploits were greatly exaggerated. Still, by the late 1980s Chelios had settled down, marrying his wife, Tracee, whom he met at the University of Wisconsin, in 1987, and having his first child, a son named Dean, in 1989.