- Ryan Clark is an NHL reporter for ESPN.
Zdeno Chara, the hulking defenseman who captained the Boston Bruins to their sixth Stanley Cup, announced Tuesday he is retiring from the NHL.
The 45-year-old finishes his career with 209 goals and 680 points in 1,680 games over 24 seasons with the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Bruins and Washington Capitals before returning to the Isles for the 2021-22 season. Chara scored twice and had 14 points while averaging nearly 19 minutes of ice time over 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 formal announcement with an Instagram post. He also said in the post he signed a one-day contract 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 finish my career with the team that has 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 heading into 2006-07 season. The Bruins also named Chara captain just a few months after he signed as a free agent. He became the third Slovakian-born player to captain 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 prominent defensemen and leaders in the NHL. Chara won the Norris Trophy for his performances during the 2008-09 season. He scored 19 goals and 50 points while averaging more than 26 minutes in 80 games. He also finished eighth in Hart Trophy voting that season.
In the 2010-11 season, Chara played a crucial role in the Bruins winning a thrilling, seven-game Stanley Cup Final series against the Vancouver Canucks to help the franchise earn 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 remained with the Bruins through the 2019-20 season before signing with the Capitals as a 43-year-old. Chara spent 55 games with the Caps, then signed a contract with the Islanders to have a second stint with the club that drafted in the third round in 1996.
Chara’s career also had an impact on what he did beyond the NHL. He led his native Slovakia to two silver-medal finishes at the IIHF Men’s World Championships while guiding his homeland to second place at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
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