Chris Chelios is the oldest player in the National Hockey League and one of the sport's most accomplished Americans. He spent part of his youth in San Diego, summers now in Malibu and pals around with actor John Cusack, Kid Rock and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. Chelios' path to the NHL began as a 16-year-old playing in beer and pizza leagues around Southern California, but he tells ESPN.com that these days it's surfing in Malibu that keeps him fit enough to play. He turns 45 on January 25.
Q: At age 44, what is your offseason training like?
A: At my age, I can't run the way I used to, so I started mountain biking, surfing and other water sports. I train with guys in California.
A: Yeah, but I don't get into the crazy stuff. I don't surf the 30-foot waves. I do get a good workout with Laird Hamilton, a buddy of mine who is the big surfing guru. We work out every day, we do a thing called stand-up paddling. It's like sprinting on surf boards and you catch waves as you paddle into waves with an oar. It's the love of my life in the offseason. You're out in the ocean and it's a great exercise and it's becoming a fad out there. It's a blast.
For his day with the Stanley Cup after the Detroit Red Wings won in 2002, Chelios chartered a helicopter to pick up the trophy at Disneyland and fly it to Malibu. The Cup's handler, Walt Neubrand, describes the scene: "When I landed, the party began at the beach and Chris had all these Hollywood friends with him....Naturally, we ended up at a Greek restaurant."
Before Chelios picked up the Cup it toured Los Angeles on a bus rented by Luc Robitaille, then a Red Wing but a past and future L.A. King. Robitaille's family and friends came along and wore T-shirts made for the occasion. "We took the Cup to the Mann's Chinese Theatre, Universal Studios, the Kodak Theatre, a Dodgers game, and my favorite, the Hollywood sign," Neubrand told NHL.com. "[Luc] made a lot of people happy that day."