One of the most legendary players in NHL history has officially called it quits today. Zdeno Chara has announced that he will be retiring from professional hockey, signing a one-day contract this afternoon with the Boston Bruins to do it as a member of the team he is connected to most.
In a post on Instagram, “Big Zee” released the following:
After 25 seasons of professional hockey 1,680 NHL regular season games, 200 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and hundreds of international games I am proud to announce my decision to retire from the National Hockey League. In doing so, I am honored to return to TD Garden today to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and officially finish my career with the team that has meant so much to me and my family.
There are so many people that have helped contribute to my success, including all of you, and I look forward to properly thanking everyone this afternoon.
Starting his career with the New York Islanders back in 1997 after being selected in the third round, Chara would eventually find his way to the Ottawa Senators where he became a true star. After four years patrolling the blueline of Canada’s capital, he would join the Boston Bruins where he would spend the next 14 seasons and 1,023 games.
In total, his 1,680 regular season games put him seventh all-time in NHL history, first among defensemen. Even as he entered his mid-forties, he was still playing regularly for the Washington Capitals and, finally, the Islanders once again, as a bookend for his career.
The winner of the 2009 Norris Trophy, and a finalist on five other occasions, Chara should not have to wait long to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He got close to the Stanley Cup several times, but only lifted it once, in 2011 with the Bruins.
There are few players that have ever been more imposing, more dominant, or more recognizable than Chara, whose 6’9″ frame will be missed by many on NHL rinks moving forward. With 209 goals, 680 points, and 2,085 penalty minutes, there was something unique about the gigantic defender.