Chris Chelios played in the NHL for as long as he could.
And he did it at a high level.
"I always said I'd go right until the tank was empty," he said. "And, I believe I did."
Chelios and fellow defensemen Scott Niedermayer along with forward Brendan Shanahan found out Tuesday they will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November.
Only Hall of Famer Gordie Howe was an older NHL player than Chelios, the only player in league history to play in at least 400 games with three different teams. His career ended with the Atlanta Thrashers during the 2009-10 season when he was 48.
"I was part of an era, Chris was part of a few," Niedermayer joked.
Chelios, Niedermayer and Shanahan will be joined in the 2013 class by Geraldine Heaney, the third woman to be enshrined in the hall, and coach Fred Shero, who led the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1974 and '75. He was selected posthumously in the builder category.
"There's no sense looking back as to why it didn't happen sooner, because today's a happy day to celebrate the fact that a guy that deserves it immensely has finally been elected to the Hall of Fame," Flyers chairman Ed Snider said.
Chelios and Niedermayer earned hockey's biggest individual honor in their first year of eligibility, and Shanahan got in on his second shot.
New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello raved about all three players, each of whom he had a connection to during their careers.
"Scott was an integral part of our success in New Jersey, not just on the ice, but off the ice," Lamoriello said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
"Shanahan was a part of my first draft — back in 1987 — and he went on to establish himself as one of the best, all-time power forwards in the history of the game. Chelios, who I was with in the 1996 World Cup and the Olympics, is one of the best success stories for an American hockey player."
Shanahan was a teammate of Chelios' in Detroit, and played with Niedermayer during the Olympics in 2002 when Canada won gold by beating Chelios and the Americans in Salt Lake City.
"When you got to play with them, it was a thrill," Shanahan said. "I spent some years playing with Cheli, and there's not another guy that you would want to go into a tough situation looking out for you.
"It absolutely makes it more special to go in with people I not only played against, but played with and got to know well."
Shanahan and Niedermayer are members of what's known as the Triple Gold Club, a group of players who have won the worlds, the Olympics and a Stanley Cup.
Each player is still working in the sport. Chelios is an adviser to hockey operations in Detroit. Niedermayer is an assistant coach in Anaheim. Shanahan is the NHL senior vice president of player safety.
Niedermayer won four Stanley Cups in 17 full NHL seasons to go along with a Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy. He played for the New Jersey Devils from 1991-92 through the 2003-04 season and finished his career in Anaheim in 2010.
|Minnesota||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Miami||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/8/13 3:05 PM|
|St. Louis||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Carolina||12/8/13 7:30 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|Milwaukee||47||2nd Qtr 2:31|
|Philadelphia||49||2nd Qtr 2:03|
|Cleveland||19||1st Qtr 1:20|
|Denver||14||1st Qtr 0:50|
|Orlando||25||1st Qtr 1:52|
|Golden State||7:00 PM|
|Oklahoma City||7:00 PM|
|LA Lakers||9:00 PM|
|Detroit||0||2nd Prd 19:37|
|San Jose||2||2nd Prd|
|Minnesota||0||2nd Prd 15:23|
|Loyola Marymount||31||2nd Half 17:15|
|Manhattan||37||1st Half 2:29|
|Saint Peters||30||2nd Half 19:01|
|Arizona State||28||2nd Half|
|James Madison||36||2nd Half 20:00|
|Sam Houston St||32|
|Open Bible College||0||Postponed|
|Stephen F Austin|
|Carroll (MT)||8:05 PM|
|South Carolina||8:30 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|Bowling Green||7:00 PM|
|(16) Northern Ill|
|(15) UCF||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(18) Oklahoma||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(6) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||12/7/13 12:00 PM|
|(23) Texas||12/7/13 2:30 PM|
|(5) Missouri||12/7/13 3:00 PM|
|So Florida||12/7/13 6:30 PM|
|(7) Stanford||12/7/13 6:45 PM|
|(11) Arizona State|
|(20) Duke||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Louisiana||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(2) Ohio State||12/7/13 7:17 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|Utah State||12/7/13 9:00 PM|
|(24) Fresno State|
|Marist||68||2nd Half 0:06|
|SIU-Edwardsville||52||2nd Half 5:27|
|Princeton||45||2nd Half 15:58|
|Tennessee St||35||2nd Half 19:21|
|St Johns||19||2nd Half|
|Appalachian St||23||1st Half 7:52|
|(5) Kentucky||28||1st Half 8:28|
|No Dakota State||8:00 PM|
|Portland State||8:00 PM|
|Oregon State||9:00 PM|
Poll: What's the best sports rivalry involving a Twin Cities sports team?