DETROIT, MI – Greek-American Caley Chelios, the daughter of NHL Hall of Fame defenseman and former Detroit Red Wing Chris Chelios, and the color analyst on the radio broadcasts for Tampa Bay Lightning road games, told The Detroit News that “women like Christine Simpson, Cassie Campbell, A.J. Mleczko, and Kathryn Tappen paved the way for female hockey announcers,” but her dad kick-started her career.
Caley Chelios, 26, was born in Chicago but moved to Detroit in 1999 when her father was traded to the Red Wings from the Blackhawks, the News reported.
"Kathryn [Tappen] inspired me on her NBC games but my dad kick-started my career," she told the Detroit News, "I wanted to do what she did. He gave me the extra push and encouraged me to really work hard."
“Chelios remembers watching her dad playing at Joe Louis Arena, staying up late to listen to road games in the Stanley Cup playoffs and going to her brothers’ games in East Lansing to watch Jake and Dean play at Michigan State,” the Detroit News reported.
"Having a dad who had such an esteemed NHL career guide me (three Stanley Cups, three Norris Trophies, Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013) and then watching my brothers play AA through college and professional hockey helped shape my individual style, what I look for on the ice, how I see the game," Chelios told the Detroit News, adding that "I run so much by my dad, the good, the bad, and the ugly. He's not afraid to be honest and offer constructive criticism. My mom is amazing too. She's not Mrs. Hockey but she's extremely smart, so supportive, and helps with every little detail."
Chelios majored in communications, earned her master’s in journalism, and won an NCAA lacrosse championship at Northwestern University before she moved to Tampa Bay to work as a reporter “with the Lightning in addition to her color commentary duties on the radio and becoming a fixture on the NHL Network,” the Detroit News reported.
Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said, "she's really good at what she does. I remember seeing her on TV for the first time while I was in my office. Her commentary was smart and insightful. And it's not like she played in the NHL or college hockey. She just has a good feel and mind for the game," the Detroit News reported.
“Chelios says she has ‘quite a ways to go’ to be mentioned in the same breathe as her female role models and credits play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin for ‘pushing me to dive a little deeper’ and examine the game at different levels,” the Detroit News reported.
"To be honest, I wasn't sure what my career path was going to be. I loved playing sports. It gave me structure, everything, all the tools I ended up needing in life. My dad set that example for all of us to follow. I have three siblings (Tara also played lacrosse in the Detroit area and at Northwestern) and we've been fortunate to have a dad who has been so unselfish and supportive of his family," Chelios told the Detroit News.
Chelios reported on the Red Wings-Lightning game in Tampa Bay on December 29 while “keeping an eye” on the Lions-Packers game at Ford Field, the Detroit News reported, noting that “her husband is Green Bay fullback Danny Vitale, who was named to the Pro Bowl along with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.”
"It's been a whirlwind and a busy summer since we got married," Chelios, who is pregnant and expecting their first child in April, told the Detroit News. "It's not easy being apart with the hockey and football seasons going on at the same time and it's not easy flying out of Green Bay, but we make it work. I'm so proud of his success. All of his hard work is paying off."
In case you were wondering, the Lighting beat the Red Wings 2-1, while the Packers won 23-20 on the last field goal of the game.