"Now I'm on the dark side, as they call it, right?" Chelios said. "I've got to figure out what that means, the dark side."
What Chelios means is that he is now part of management, after 27 years as a member of the NHL Players' Association, often speaking out front with his opinions on league issues and working behind on the scenes on union matters. Chelios has joined the Wings as an advisor to hockey operations.
Chelios said he spoke with Donald Fehr, who has been working as an unpaid advisor to the NHLPA and reportedly will become its executive director, at least on an interim basis. But Chelios said he was uninterested in a role with the union at this point because it would take him away from his family.
"Don Fehr, not that he hinted at it, but he was wondering what my plans were," Chelios said. "I told him about a month ago I considered maybe doing it. ... I think the biggest issue there was the commitment and the time. It's a 12-month job. It's travel. And it's the last thing I want to do after retirement.
"They needed a guy that's going to pull them together. As far as being a leader and doing some of that, I think I could have done the job. I just thought right now that the opportunity that the Detroit Red Wings are giving me, this is the best opportunity for me."
Chelios praised former NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow. Despite the turmoil after the 2004-05 lockout -- leading to the departures of Goodenow, Ted Saskin, Paul Kelly and several staff members -- Chelios said the union is headed in the right direction as its collective bargaining agreement with the league expires in 2012.
"Unfortunately, when we had a falling out, there was still half of the old regime and the new regime, and it just didn't work," Chelios said. "So now it's going to be a fresh start, a whole new staff. ...
"I think they're in good hands with Don Fehr helping out. As far as I know, he's going to be there right up to the CBA negotiations, which is obviously the biggest issue. ...
"Hopefully somewhere there's a happy medium for everybody. The players had a great deal for years through Bob. Now that the owners have a good deal, now maybe it's time to cut it down the middle and meet somewhere in between."
(Ed. Note: Read more of Cotsonika on Chelios's official retirement here later Tuesday night.)