The defenseman with the most games played in NHL history, Zdeno Chara announced his retirement on Instagram on Tuesday. To officially end his career as a Bruin, he will sign a one-day contract with Boston.
Chara’s career was unusual in many ways. He spent four seasons on Long Island after being selected by the New York Islanders in the 1996 NHL Draft. He was later traded to the Ottawa Senators. But he didn’t really become well-known until he signed with the Boston Bruins in 2006, when he was just 29 years old.
“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.” Chara wrote on Instagram.
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Chara, a native of Slovakia, will retire from hockey as one of the NHL’s toughest defensemen. Over the course of his career, he was named to six All-Star teams. In 2009, he won the Norris Trophy, given to the league’s top defenseman.
The 45-year-old was a key contributor as the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a thrilling seven-game Stanley Cup Final series in the 2010–11 season, helping the team win its first championship in 39 years.
He also received the Mark Messier Leadership Award during that same season.
In 1,023 games over 14 seasons with the Bruins, Chara recorded 481 points.
In addition to guiding his country to second place at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, he led Slovakia to two silver-medal finishes at the IIHF Men’s World Championships.
With 1,680 games played, Chara finished his career with 209 goals and 680 points.