2015 IHHF Bio Series: Nikos Tselios

NIKOS TSELIOS

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Nikos Tselios picNikos Tselios began playing hockey at the age of 4 and it didn’t take long to see that he had an unconditional love for the game.  Nik started playing youth hockey for the Huskies at the Downers Grove Ice Arena. Rapidly improving, his family wanted to make sure he got every opportunity possible to play the sport he loved. As years went by Nik found himself playing not only in his age group but getting to double roster as well. He often would play with players that were 2 years older than him, and not only be able to keep up, but also make a significant impact in the games. Nik never seemed to get enough hockey – two teams in the fall, three teams in the spring, public skates and rat hockey all year round. Many would say it was too much, but for Nik there was no such thing as too much hockey, he could never get enough.

When Nik began playing Midget hockey he and his family knew it was time to make some major decisions. He had the great honor and privilege to represent his country and play for Team USA in the U16 and U17 National hockey tournaments. He received scholarship offers to play from every school he considered. Ultimately, his love of the game and passion for the sport pushed him to take a major risk and play for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) instead of pursuing a degree. Nik was drafted in the 4th round to the Belleville Bulls and took his game up north to Canada. At the age of 17, in his rookie year, he received attention immediately; competing in the CHL prospects game and making the OHL all-rookie team. The summer after his rookie season he was drafted 22nd overall in the 1997 NHL entry Draft. Nik then spent two more seasons in the OHL improving and getting a chance to represent the United States in two World Junior Championships.

After a successful junior career, Nik began his journey breaking into the NHL. During his first four professional seasons, Nik played for Carolina Hurricane affiliates. While with the club, he played in 2 NHL games and was able to realize his lifelong and childhood dream. Nik then signed with the Phoenix Coyotes and spent two more seasons in the AHL. Nik wanted a change of scenery and decided to play in Europe – first Finland and then Sweden. While with the Swedish Elite League he won a gold medal playing with Fajestad. Nik’s professional hockey career is comprised of over 500 professional hockey games in the United States, Finland and Sweden.

Today you can still find Nik at the rinks here in Illinois where he spends his time helping children chase their dreams and improve their hockey skills. With his son Thano and his wife Litsa, they now look forward to seeing if their son will share the same passion and love for the game of hockey as he does.



Categories: Hockey Headlines, Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame

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