Zdeno Chara retires from hockey after 25 seasons and signs a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara, the tallest player in NHL history, the league’s oldest player and a 2011 Stanley Cup winner, has officially announced his retirement from playing.

Chara signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins on Tuesday allowing him to retire at the club where he spent most of his career.

He captained the Bruins from 2006 to 2020 when he signed as a free agency with the Washington Capitals.

Chara won the 2009 Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman and made five of his six All-Star appearances in spokes B.

During his time in Boston, Chara made the Stanley Cup Playoffs ten times. He led the team to three Stanley Cup Finals and won the 2011 trophy in seven games against the Vancouver Canucks.

After 25 seasons in the National Hockey League, Zdeno Chara has announced his retirement

Chara spent most of his time in Boston and won the 2011 Stanley Cup as the Bruins captain

Chara spent most of his time in Boston and won the 2011 Stanley Cup as the Bruins captain

Chara signed a 1-day contract with the Bruins, retiring with the team he spent 14 seasons with

Chara signed a 1-day contract with the Bruins, retiring with the team he spent 14 seasons with

“After 25 seasons in 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,” it posted Chara on Instagram.

“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 has meant so much to me and my family.

“There are so many people who have contributed to my success, including all of you, and I look forward to thanking everyone this afternoon. Thank you, Big Zee.’

In his farewell speech, Chara thanked coaches, past Boy Scouts, the four teams he played for, the Boston media, his family and many others.

“When I first started playing hockey, I never imagined being part of the NHL or the Boston Bruins organization and winning or earning the Stanley Cup [the] Norris Trophy or the Mark Messier Award. Or even having the privilege of seeing my name next to many NHL records.

“I know I can walk away from the game with gratitude, honor and pride… I’m not walking away from the game completely, but now is the time that I go with my family. My family and I are proud to call Boston our home. It is the team and the city that we have taken to our hearts.”

A number of Bruins executives have commented on Chara’s resignation.

“He was a great mentor, a great person, a great friend. I am grateful for his friendship and all he has meant to the Boston Bruins organization,” former teammate and current captain Patrice Bergeron told the media.

“I would find it hard to believe that he won’t be [in the Hockey Hall of Fame]said team president and Hockey Hall of Famer Cam Neely.

Regarding a future collaboration with the team, Neely said, “Having Zdeno around in any capacity would be a huge boost for the franchise.”

Neely also said that Chara is the last person to wear the number 33 for the Bruins and promised his name would soon be in the sacred rafters of TD Garden.

Chara, seen here in 2007, signed as a free agency with the Bruins in the 2006 season.  He received the 'C' and was made team captain immediately after signing.

Chara, seen here in 2007, signed as a free agency with the Bruins in the 2006 season. He received the ‘C’ and was made team captain immediately after signing.

All his former teams congratulated him on social media. Ottawa Senators posted a thank you saying, “Congratulations on an amazing career and thank you for your time with the #Sens!”

Washington, the team he spent the least time with, wrote, “It has been a pleasure and an honor to have you in the District and to be a part of your incredible career. Happy retirement, Big Zee! ‘

The islanders – the team he last went on the ice with and the one that drafted him – said: “Thank you for everything you did in blue and orange. There will only be one Big Zee. ‘

Chara, better known for his ability to keep the puck out of the net than get it in, still scored 237 goals and added 523 assists for 750 points in 1,880 regular season and playoff games.

His 1,680 regular season games is a record for the defenseman. He is a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee not only for his consistency but also for his greatness in the game from Slovakia to North America.

Chara also holds records for most Game 7 playoff appearances in NHL history, as well as records for being the tallest person in league history and having the hardest shot in league history.

Chara became the second European captain with Detroit to win the trophy after Sweden’s Nicklas Lidstrom.

Chara signed his final playing contract with the New York Islanders, the team that drafted him

Chara signed his final playing contract with the New York Islanders, the team that drafted him

Chara was drafted in the third round by the Islanders in 1996 and played his first four seasons on Long Island before being traded to the Senators.

Boston’s signing in 2006 remains one of the most impactful free agency signings of the 17 years of the NHL’s salary cap era. He filled a vacancy as captain after the Bruins traded Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks in the 2004-05 season.

Chara first reached the Stanley Cup Finals with the team in 2011 after their seven-game first-round series with the Montreal Canadiens and the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The cup final against the Canucks proved an even more difficult task as Vancouver had won the President’s Trophy as the league’s best regular-season team that year. A Bruins win in Game 7 gave Chara the trophy for the first and only time. That win gave Boston its first Stanley Cup since 1972, its first in 39 years.

After four hard-fought series, Chara helped lead Boston to its first Stanley Cup in 39 years

After four hard-fought series, Chara helped lead Boston to its first Stanley Cup in 39 years

In 2013, the Bruins again reached the finals, facing the Chicago Blackhawks. Chara has one goal and three assists in that series, with Boston losing to the Blackhawks in six games.

The 2019 Stanley Cup Finals marked the last time the Bruins played for what is arguably the most elusive trophy in North American sport. They played the St. Louis Blues in a replay of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, which Boston was victorious and lifted its third trophy.

Chara suffered a broken jaw in game four of the cup final but within 72 hours he had wires in his mouth and a full face shield on his helmet, a heroic example of sporting leadership.

“I went to see him after he broke his jaw in the hospital in the playoffs in 19 and he told me he’s playing Game 5… to me that just showed everything about Zdeno – not just the toughness but the dedication ,’ Neely recalled.

Despite breaking his jaw in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, Chara starred for the remainder of the series

Despite breaking his jaw in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, Chara starred for the remainder of the series

The Bruins lost that streak on home ice in Game 7 to the Blues. In the post-expansion era, Boston have never won the Stanley Cup when they had home field advantage.

After the 2019-20 season shortened by COVID, Bruins GM Don Sweeney didn’t promise Chara a full-time role and he went to the Washington Capitals in free agency. Coincidentally, the Capitals played the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs — with Boston winning in five games.

He joined his original team – the Islanders – for the 2021-22 season and scored in his last game on April 29, 2022 against the Lightning.

He played his last game with the Islanders in 2022, scoring his last goal of his career

He played his last game with the Islanders in 2022, scoring his last goal of his career