After 24 NHL seasons, former Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara announced his retirement from the NHL on Tuesday. Chara, 45, made the announcement on his Instagram page.
“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. There are so many people that have helped contribute to my success, including all of you, and I look forward to properly thanking everyone this afternoon.”
Chara spent the 2020-21 season in Washington, playing in 55 games, including his 1,600th career game. He recorded two goals and 8 assists and was nominated by Washington journalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Chara said after a game on Janauary 29, 2021, that he was very grateful for his experience in Washington. “I can’t thank them enough to accept me in the group and welcome me like they did. It’s a great group of guys, we are having fun, and working hard to push each other to be better”
Following the season, Chara spoke about finally getting the chance to play with Alex Ovechkin, whom he had played against for many years:
“Yeah it was great. Since Day 1, got to know Alex in different ways then playing against him on the ice, he’s a great human being, an amazing player, great leader, so to be on the same team was a great experience I will cherish the rest of my life, I’m very grateful for that”.
Chara scored two goals and had 14 points in 72 games with the New York Islanders last season, his 24th in the NHL.
A third-round pick (56th overall) of the Islanders at the 1996 NHL Draft, Chara spent four years on Long Island before being acquired by the Ottawa Senators in a package that included the 2001 second overall pick (Jason Spezza). He played for Ottawa for four seasons before signing as a free agent with the Boston Bruins in 2006.
Chara spent 14 seasons in Boston, captaining the team to a Stanley Cup in 2011. A six-time NHL All-Star, he won the Norris Trophy in 2009.
Internationally, he has two silver medals at the worlds (2000, 2012) with Slovakia and silver at the World Cup of Hockey with Team Europe.
By Jon Sorensen