BOSTON (WHDH) - Veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara announced Wednesday that he is leaving Boston to play for another NHL hockey team after spending 14 years as captain of the Bruins.

“My family and I have been so fortunate to call the great city of Boston our home for over 14 years,” Chara said in an Instagram post. “Recently, the Boston Bruins have informed me that they plan to move forward with their many younger and talented players and I respect their decision. Unfortunately, my time as the proud captain of the Bruins has come to an end.”

Chara, 43, has signed a one-year contract worth just $795,000 with the Washington Capitals, according to reports.

His departure comes less than a week before most NHL teams open training camp. The Bruins haven’t opened camp without Chara since 2005.

In 2011, Chara helped the Bruins capture their first Stanley Cup since 1972 with an unforgettable victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

“I’m proud that we were able to return the Stanley Cup to Boston and celebrating with all of you, in Boston, New England, and around the world, was a moment I will never forget,” Chara added. “You all have treated my family and me as one of your own and I will always be grateful.”

He also assured the city that he will “always be a Bruin” at heart.

“As I begin this next chapter, I want the people of Boston to know how proud I was to be a Bruin and how grateful I am for all of the support over the years. ‘Thank you’ does not seem adequate to express my sincere gratitude. I will always be a Bruin. I will always love Boston,” Chara explained.

The 6-foot-9 stalwart along the blue line was named the NHL’s best defensemen in 2009.

In a tweet, the Bruins said, “There have been few that have represented the Spoked-B with as much class, honor, and respect as Zdeno Chara. His place in Bruins history is cemented forever. Thank you, Zee, for all you have done for our organization and our city.”

Chara scored 148 goals, tallied 333 assists, and posted a plus-minus of 240 in 1,023 career games with the Bruins.

Boston will square off against Chara and the Capitals eight times in the realigned East Division after the new season starts on Jan. 13.

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A post shared by Zdeno Chara (@zeechara33)


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