‘Big Zee’ hangs up his skates – Zdeno Chara retires from the NHL after 24 seasons

'Big Zee' the 45-year veteran retires as a legend of the game and gets a grand sendoff.

zdeno chara
zdeno chara
FirstSportz News

NHL saw their longest-serving defenseman pack up his skates. Zdeno Chara announced via Instagram that he’s ready to move on to the next phase of his life. He will no longer be seen dawning the Boston Bruins jersey. Chara brings an end to a glorious career spread across several decades.

The 2.6 m giant would glide on ice stopping attack after attack and displayed his immaculate leadership qualities down the years, especially with Boston Bruins. He has played the most no. of matches in his position – 1,680 to be precise.

Earlier in the day, he wasn’t taken seriously when he was just starting out as a teenager. Many doubted his NHL debut, less what he could achieve. But tides have turned and he has established himself as a force to be reckoned with.

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Zdeno Chara and his one-day contract with the Bruins

Zdeno Chara
Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara with his former teammates Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and several notable figures was present when Chara signed a single-day contract with the Boston Bruins.

Zdeno did not take long to end the curiosity of people gasping for the details of a ‘one-day contract’. “Zdeno must agree to keep himself in good shape or physical condition at all times post-retirement,” Zdeno Chara stated while the crowd laughed.

Brad Marchand stated about Chara – “Every day he expected you to be the best”. This is what leadership and taking charge means. The ability to rally your troops through thick and thin all the while maintaining team decorum and spirit. Listen to Chara’s full retirement speech below:

His erstwhile Boston Bruins teammate David Backes stated – “Most games played might be the only thing he’s got left. … He’s got the most games played by a defenseman. [He’s] a guy that is, Mount Rushmore of the defensemen ever to play in the League.” This is a testament to Zdeno Chara’s grit and passion for the game and the love he received from the fans throughout his dazzling career.

The most towering player to ever play in the NHL, Zdeno Chara was a giant on skates that would hurl at attackers stopping attacks for fun and showcasing his talent. “His competitive drive, the way that he prepared, practices for games, in the gym, his focus, I learned from all of that”.

“When I started playing hockey as a young boy, I never imagined I’d be one day sitting at a press conference after playing in the NHL for 25 years,” Chara states. “This all feels surreal”, stated Patrice Bergeron, his former partner with the Boston Bruins.

It was in July 2006, that Chara signed his Boston Bruins contract. Little he would have known that 16 years down the line he would retire as an all-time great, both for the Bruins as well as NHL in general.

With 1,680 games in his bag including those with New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators, Chara is definitely a future inductee into the Hall of Fame. Here’s to wishing Zdeno Chara the best of luck in all future endeavors.

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