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Caley Chelios steps out of dad's shadow

  • Caley Chelios (left), a Northwestern lacrosse player and daughter of former Blackhawk Chris Chelios, and Blake McHugh sing a duet on a team bus ride.
Caley Chelios (left), a Northwestern lacrosse player and daughter of former… (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune )
April 28, 2014|By Matt Lindner | For RedEye

Growing up with one of the best defensemen in NHL history certainly helped Northwestern junior defender Caley Chelios develop as a lacrosse player.

"He always told me to watch the chest and stay side to side; that motion's kind of the same," she said. "Just staying aggressive. He was a really aggressive defender in his time, so I feel like I always wanted to be that way."

Throughout her dad's Hall of Fame career, she was known as "Chris' daughter."

On the Northwestern campus however, Chris Chelios is simply "Caley's dad."

The 5-foot-8 reserve is working on making a name for herself in the city her father owned in the early-to-mid-'90s as a defenseman for the Blackhawks.

While dear old dad works in the Detroit Red Wings' front office as an adviser to hockey operations, Caley says in her heart, she'll always be a Hawks fan.

"It's tricky," she said. "I love Chicago so much and I'm from here originally, so I feel like I've kind of become a Hawks fan, but as long as my dad still works for the Wings, he had some great memories there and I had some with him. Still love the Wings, loyal to them, but I'm a little Hawks-y now."

On Saturday night, Caley played at Wrigley Field four years after her father did the same for the Red Wings.

His advice to her was simple: Be aggressive out there.

"He said if you get any opportunities to go in, get in there, go hard, make something happen, be mean and stay mean the whole time," she said.

Next year, she'll have company on campus—and on the lacrosse field.

Her younger sister Tara, a midfielder, is set to join her on Northwestern's lacrosse team later this year as an incoming freshman. With her brother Jake playing for the Chicago Wolves, the trio plan to continue making a name for the Chelios family in Chicago athletics.

"It'll be awesome to have him, my sister and I all here next year so we can keep tabs on each other," she said. "[Tara]'s super excited."

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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