Zdeno Chara’s time in Boston has come to an end.
The veteran defenseman on Wednesday afternoon said the Bruins “informed me that they plan to move forward with their many younger and talented players.” The decision ends the captain’s 14-year tenure in Boston.
“Unfortunately, my time as the proud Captain of the Bruins has come to an end,” Chara wrote on Instagram, adding that he respects the team’s decision.
Minutes after Chara posted his statement, the Washington Capitals officially announced they signed him to a one-year deal worth $795,000. Chara hit the free agent market back in October when his contract expired with the Bruins and was not extended.
Chara joins a Capitals squad that won the Stanley Cup in 2018 but was upset in the first round of the 2020 playoffs by the New York Islanders.
OFFICIAL! BIG Z TO DC!
The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year, $795,000 contract.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 30, 2020
Chara joined the Bruins in 2006, signing a franchise-record seven-year, $37.5 million deal. His signing helped to mark a turnaround for a team that was toward the bottom of the league when he signed. By Chara’s second season, the Bruins were in the playoffs, and in his third season, he led the Bruins to the Eastern Conference’s best record in the regular season. In that same season, Chara won the Norris Trophy, the award given to the league’s best defenseman.
Following a devastating second-round exit to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 (in which the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead in the series), Chara and the Bruins bounced back in the best way possible: Chara led the Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup, the team’s first in 39 years, by defeating the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.
Chara led the Bruins back to the Stanley Cup Final two more times, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and the St. Louis Blues in 2019.
Over his 14 seasons in Boston, Chara made the All-Star Game five times. Many expect the legendary defenseman will be named to the Hockey Hall of Fame and have his No. 33 retired by the Bruins in the future.
Here’s the complete text of Chara’s announcement:
My family and I have been so fortunate to call the great city of Boston our home for over 14 years. 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.
I want to first of all thank the passionate and loyal Bruins fans, who shared the ups and downs of each season over the past 14 years. 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. You all have treated my family and me as one of your own and I will always be grateful. Thank you.
I would also like to thank all of the Bruins staff. The trainers, equipment staff, medical staff (all doctors, dentists and therapists), PR and hockey operations, the front office staff, arena staff, security and everyone who helped make the past 14 years so memorable. While there are too many names to mention, please know how sincerely grateful I am to each of you.
I want to thank the Jacobs family for the opportunity to represent the Bruins as their Captain. I am grateful and proud of everything we accomplished.
To all of my teammates throughout the years in Boston, I am so lucky to have a lifetime of memories that I will never forget. From the highest highs to the lowest lows, we were always a team, we were always there for each other and those bonds and friendships will never be forgotten.
My family and I will always cherish the strong friendships and connections we made here. From the beginning in 2006, we have been embraced by this community and made to feel welcome. We will always be grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the community and for the people who always supported me and my family.
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.
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