BOSTON (WHDH) - A player with Zdeno Chara’s skills was bound to make some memories for Bruins fans during his career.
Now that the former B’s captain has retired as a Bruin, many of those memories have come flooding back as the city and beyond remember the defenseman’s legacy.
“He’s my age, so he always, like, he always was the one for me – he was always my favorite,” said Chara fan Dennis Stawicki, who said he moved to the Boston area to see the Bruins play. One of his strongest qualities, Stawicki said, was his ability as a captain to support his players.
“Any time any of the players had a bad, you know, just a bad time out there, maybe didn’t have (the) greatest stretch, he was always the first one over there to just pat their back and tell them ‘it’s gonna be alright,'” he added.
Chara was also frequently giving support off of the ice, taking part in numerous charity events and meeting young fans at hospitals.
“I can’t even describe him – he’s such a wonderful leader,” said Sarah Moore, another Bruins fan. “He brought so much leadership and wonder to the game. I’m really gonna miss him.”
For one woman waiting outside TD Garden on Tuesday, she said one of her favorite memories may have happened that very day, when she was able to snag a selfie with the 45-year-old. That, and Chara finally raising the cup in 2011.
“That’s your childhood, it’s all your childhood memories in just… I remember him being so distinctly being so tall, and just raising the Stanley Cup and it was like, the best day of my life,” said Emilie Pellitier.
Another fan said he remembered a scarier moment from Chara’s career: when he suffered a broken jaw in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues in 2019.
“When he took that puck off the face and, you know, you see him injured and he comes back a few days later to continue in the playoffs, that’s hockey mindset at its best,” Jaff Vachon said.
“Big Zee,” who wore jersey number 33 for the B’s, said on Instagram that he played “25 seasons of professional hockey, 1,689 NHL regular season games, 200 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and hundreds of international games” in his career.
He led the B’s to a postseason berth in 11 of 14 seasons he played with the team. He ranks sixth in franchise history for games played and third in points by a defenseman, only topped by Ray Borque and Bobby Orr.
Although Chara, 45, played with the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals, he wanted to finish his 24-year career with the Bruins, re-signing with the team via a one-day deal.
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