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Chelios heads picks for USA's Hall

Chris Chelios hasn't completely closed the door on a comeback.

Sure, the longtime NHL defenseman is 49 years old. And yes, he sat out all of last season. But pulling the plug on his playing days is something he just can't bring himself to do.

"I'm not going to ever say that," Chelios said with a chuckle.

His retirement last year did pave the way for this: Chelios was selected for induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, joining former NHL stars Keith Tkachuk and Gary Suter.

Philadelphia Flyers founder and current owner Ed Snider and play-by-play announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick also were selected. The formal induction will take place this fall.

Chelios played 26 NHL seasons with Montreal, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta. He left the NHL after the 2009-10 season as the all-time leader in games played by a defenseman (1,651). He also was part of three Stanley Cup championships.

Now, he's trying to figure out his next move. Chelios may throw himself into coaching or possibly a front-office role. He may even return to the ice.

"I'm trying to find my niche, what I want to do," Chelios said. "I'm going to remain with hockey for the rest of life -- it's all I really know and love."

As an adviser for the Red Wings, Chelios has worked with some of the organization's up-and-coming defensemen. It's a role he's relishing.

"Nothing like being on the ice," said Chelios, whose two sons play for Michigan State. "Coaching is something I really enjoy."

Chelios has long been regarded as the godfather of U.S. hockey, partly for his sage wisdom but mostly since he's one of two male players to represent the team at four Winter Games.

"Just the way he carries himself both on and off the ice. It's something that makes a team better," Tkachuk said. "It was always about the team with Chris.

"Just a true leader. I'm very fortunate to be able to play with a great player like that and learn from him."

Tkachuk had a stellar career in his own right, playing for nearly two decades and becoming one of just four American-born players to score 500 career NHL goals. He also was a five-time All-Star and a four-time Olympian.

To think, one game hooked him on hockey for life. But what a contest it was.

Watching Mike Eruzione score the winning goal against the Soviet Union in 1980 had a profound effect on Tkachuk.

"Fell in love with (hockey)," said Tkachuk, who was originally drafted 19th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 1990. "But our jobs are not done right now. We have to keep helping out."

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Uniondale votes no

UNIONDALE -- Voters in a suburban New York community already paying some of the highest property taxes in the country rejected a referendum Monday to borrow $400 million for the construction of a new hockey arena and ballpark.

The referendum failed in a 33,526 to 24,553 vote Monday in what elections officials said was a very low turnout for the unusual midsummer election.

Nassau County officials who backed the effort say the August vote was needed to give officials enough time to build a replacement for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before the New York Islanders' lease expires in 2015.

Without a new building, the hockey team's owner, Charges Wang, has said he may have to move off Long Island.

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