Originally created 12/01/99

Hurricanes remember defenseman



RALEIGH, N.C. -- The family of Steve Chiasson dropped the puck during a ceremonial faceoff Tuesday night, as the Carolina Hurricanes remembered the 13-year NHL defenseman who died in a car accident.

Susan Chiasson and her three children, ages 8, 5 and 2´, went to center ice for the faceoff with Carolina captain Ron Francis and fellow players Glen Wesley and Gary Roberts.

Owner Peter Karmanos also joined in as both teams tapped their sticks on the ice in Chiasson's honor. The Hurricanes chose the game with Calgary because Chiasson played a portion of his career with the Flames.

A 90-second retrospective of Chiasson's career was also played on the scoreboard early in the first period as both teams watched. Some players like Wesley and Roberts couldn't look and bowed their heads. Susan Chiasson also turned away as highlights of her husband's career were shown.

"It's exciting to be back, exciting to be a part of the NHL family again," said Susan Chiasson.

Chiasson's blood alcohol level was 0.27 percent when he died in a single-car accident May 3 -- the morning after the Hurricanes were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. He was returning home from a late-night party at Roberts' house.

The legal limit for driving in North Carolina is 0.08 percent.

"I think because of how everything went down in May it's nice to come back and have a little bit of closure and put things in perspective," Susan Chiasson said. "Lots of people needed to know we're OK. We kind of left (town) real quick. We're doing OK."

Susan Chiasson, who moved back to Canada after the accident, said she is pleased with how fans have remembered Steve.

"We've chosen to sort of focus on the way Steve lived his life and the kind of person he became," she said. "He was an amazing partner, an amazing father. My children have such a great bond with him still. He was a good friend and great teammate and the most positive person I've met in my whole life.

"At death, life doesn't end it just changes. I'm sort of learning to figure out what that means."

The Hurricanes are wearing Chiasson's No. 3 on one sleeve of their jerseys and on their helmets. General manager Jimmy Rutherford also announced that Chiasson's jersey would hang in the Carolina locker room.