Zdeno Chara, the towering defenseman who led the Boston Bruins to their sixth Stanley Cup, announced Tuesday that he is retiring from the NHL.
The 45-year-old finishes his career with 209 goals and 680 points in 1,680 games in 24 seasons with the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Bruins and Washington Capitals before returning to the Islands for the season 2021-22. Chara scored twice and had 14 points while averaging nearly 19 minutes of ice time in 44 games in what ultimately became his final NHL campaign.
Chara, who at 6-foot-9 was also the tallest player in NHL history, made his official announcement with an Instagram post. He also said in the post that he signed a one-day deal so he could retire as a Bruin.
“I am honored to return to TD Garden today to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and officially end my career with the team that meant so much to me and my family,” Chara wrote.
Chara played his first eight seasons with the Islanders and Senators before signing with the Bruins before the 2006-07 season. The Bruins also named Chara captain just months after he signed as a free agent. He became the third Slovak-born player to lead an NHL team.
Chara spent 14 seasons with the Bruins and enjoyed one of the most memorable careers in the franchise’s illustrious history.
His time in Boston also saw him emerge as one of the NHL’s most prominent defensemen and leaders. Chara won the Norris Trophy for his performances in the 2008-09 season. He averaged 19 goals and 50 points over 26 minutes in 80 games. He also finished eighth in voting for the Hart Trophy that season.
During the 2010-11 season, Chara played a crucial role in the Bruins’ victory in a thrilling seven-game Stanley Cup Finals series against the Vancouver Canucks to help the franchise win its first title in 39 seasons.
That same season, Chara also won the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
Chara spent 14 seasons with the Bruins and scored 481 points in 1,023 games with the club.
He stayed with the Bruins through the 2019-20 season before signing with the Capitals at age 43. Chara spent 55 games with the Caps, then signed a contract with the Islanders to have a second stint with the club that went through the third round in 1996.
Chara’s career has also had an impact on what he has done beyond the NHL. He led his native Slovakia to two silver medals at the IIHF Men’s World Championships while guiding his native country to second place at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.