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.
Among the game's best U.S.-born players, Chelios won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman three times.
The Chicagoan split much of his career with three storied franchises in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit and was asked which team he will be affiliated when he is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"U.S.A.," he said.
Shanahan finished his career with 656 goals and 698 assists. He won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings, an Olympic gold medal and was the quintessential scoring power winger of his era.
Shanahan started his career with the Devils, went on to play in St. Louis, Hartford, Detroit and for the New York Rangers before ending his playing career back in New Jersey.
Heaney was a defenseman on Canada's gold-medal-winning team at the 2002 Olympics and is considered one of the best female players in history.
"As a young girl playing hockey, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be going into the hall," she said.
A news release from the singer's publicist says the 54-year-old Travis was admitted to the hospital Sunday in Dallas and was in critical condition Monday evening.
Travis was being treated for viral cardiomyopathy (kahr-dee-oh-my-OP-uh-thee), a heart condition caused by a virus, according to his publicist, Kirt Webster.
The Mayo Clinic's website says the disease weakens and enlarges the heart muscle, making it harder for the heart to pump blood and carry it to the rest of the body. It can lead to heart failure. Treatments range from medications and surgically implanted devices to heart transplants.
The illness is a continuation of a tough run for Travis after a handful of recent high-profile appearances, including a performance during the Country Music Association Festival's nightly concert series and George Jones' funeral.
Long a popular figure in country music, the North Carolina-born singer has been trying to put his life back together after a series of embarrassing public incidents involving alcohol.
Travis pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in January following his arrest last year when he was found naked after crashing his Pontiac Trans Am.
Travis was sentenced to two years of probation, fined $2,000 and given a 180-day suspended jail sentence. He was required to spend at least 30 days at an alcohol treatment facility and complete 100 hours of community service.
The multiple Grammy Award-winning singer rode his alternately mellow and majestic voice to stardom in the 1980s and `90s with hits like "Forever and Ever, Amen" and "Three Wooden Crosses."
Meanwhile, a fire in Southern California destroyed a pair of mountain lodges Monday while a new fire near a rural Arizona community grew to 300 acres within a matter of hours, prompted evacuations and claimed at least one home.
More than 750 firefighters, including 18 elite Hotshot crews, in Nevada were battling the Carpenter 1 Fire some 25 miles northwest of Las Vegas, said Jay Nichols, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.
Smoke from the 24-square-mile fire created a towering white cloud that stretched northeast, visible from downtown. The Clark County Department of Air Quality issued a health advisory that officials said would remain in effect today through Sunday.
An influx of firefighters and equipment including bulldozers, seven helicopters, four air tankers and a DC-10 jet fire retardant bomber arrived in the area as crews in Arizona neared containment of a deadly blaze that killed 19 Hotshot firefighters near Yarnell on June 30 and another fast-moving fire in the state erupted farther south.
Pinal County Deputy Chief Steve Henry said the new fire fueled by salt cedar trees along the San Pedro River bed outside the remote community of Kearny had burned a ranch-style home and two other structures. It also threatened the local airport in the town of some 2,000 residents.
Residents of a trailer park were evacuated as a precaution after the fire was reported about 5 p.m. Monday. It was unclear how it started. The Arizona Republic reported (HTTP://BIT.LY/170OCJA ) the fire had spread across 300 acres by late Monday.
Temperatures in eastern Arizona where the fire sparked were expected to rise just above 100 degrees in the area Tuesday, but possible showers and thunderstorms would help firefighters' efforts.
Henry said crews were expected to work through the night to make advances on the blaze.
"I don't think they want to wait on the temperatures picking up in the morning," Henry said.
The fire in California destroyed two lodges along a mountain road in rural San Diego County, burned at least six other structures and threatened dozens of cabins as it surged to more than 7 square miles in soaring heat that's expected to return Tuesday.
In northern Nevada, the Bison Fire in the Pine Nut Mountains straddling the Douglas and Lyon county lines nearly doubled in size Monday from a day earlier as it burned through tinder-dry brush, dead trees and pinion-juniper forests. By afternoon the fire was estimated at 17,500 acres, or more than 27 square miles.
The mountain range also stretches into Carson City. Late in the day, fire officials closed popular back-country roads leading from the state capital into the mountains because of the fire's path.
The blaze broke out July 4 and firefighters initially hoped to have it contained Monday. But those ambitions were dashed Sunday when strong winds fanned the fire into an inferno that pushed to the northeast and created a towering, swirling smoke plume seen for miles.
No homes have been lost, but officials said several old structures burned in the Slater Mine area.
More than 700 firefighters battled winds, low humidity and steep terrain to clear fire breaks through grass, pinion and juniper.
Firefighters lost ground Monday on both of the Nevada fires, which each were about 15 percent contained. Fire managers expecting crews to spend a week on both fire lines.
No injuries were reported in the southern Nevada fire and no structures burned in the fire since it started July 1 on the west side of Mount Charleston near Pahrump and quickly spread east into rugged terrain reachable only on foot. Officials said Monday that some $2.4 million had already been spent fighting the fire.
Mount Charleston is a popular weekend getaway, where summer temperatures can be 15 to 20 degrees cooler than in Las Vegas, which has sizzled in the triple digits for more than 10 days.
More than 400 homes in Trout, Kyle, Lee, Harris Springs and Lovell canyons were evacuated during the weekend, along with a Clark County-run youth correctional camp that houses 98 teenagers at a mountain elevation of almost 8,500 feet above sea level. State highways 156 and 157 were closed into the canyons, and evacuation shelters were set up at schools in Las Vegas and Pahrump.
Crews were also working to protect about 100 non-residential structures including barns, sheds and corrals, Nichols said.
Daytime high temperatures on the mountain were expected to decrease over the next few days after peaking at 90 degrees on Saturday, but firefighters were hampered by gusty winds and humidity levels in the single digits.
The fire, named Carpenter 1, was declared a top priority nationwide due to its size and the value of homes and structures at risk, said Suzanne Shelp, a Forest Service spokeswoman.
"This fire, these last few days and going forward, is going to depend on the weather," Shelp said.
Associated Press writer Sandra Chereb in Carson City contributed to this report.
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