A giant of the game, both literally and figuratively, has called it a career. Defenseman Zdeno Chara announced his retirement via Instagram on Tuesday after 24 NHL seasons. He will sign a one-day contract with Boston in order to retire as a Bruin.
"I am honored to return to TD Garden [Tuesday] 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," Chara wrote.
Chara's career was not a typical one. Drafted by the New York Islanders in 1996, he played four seasons on Long Island before being traded to the Ottawa Senators. It was not until he signed with the Boston Bruins in 2006 at the age of 29, however, that he really came to prominence.
What made Chara's career unusual is that his best years came after he was supposed to be past his prime. While with Boston, he was named the captain and helped lead the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and two more conference titles.
When the Bruins decided it was time to move on, Chara was not ready to call it a career and signed with the Capitals. He spent one year with Washington in 2020-21, playing in 55 games where he recorded two goals and eight assists. Despite turning 44 in March 2021, Chara still averaged 18:19 of ice time per game for the Caps.
Chara would help lead the Caps to the playoffs where they were matched with Boston in the first round. The Bruins would go on to knock their former captain out of the postseason, dispatching Washington in five games.
Chara was a towering figure on the ice at 6-foot-7 and also leaves a large legacy as well. In addition to his Stanley Cup, he also was a seven-time All-Star and won the Norris Trophy in 2009 as the league's top defenseman. Now that he is retired, you can expect to see him in the Hockey Hall of Fame and his jersey hung in the rafters at TD Garden in the coming years.