After being away from his family for the last two seasons, former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara knew it was time to retire from the NHL. Sure his 45-year-old but still chiseled body was starting to feel it’s age on and off the ice, but when it came down to deciding whether or not he should play a 26th season in the NHL, Chara chose to be a full-time Dad instead.
“The biological age of your body is always going to be there, you can’t deny it,” Zdeno Chara acknowledged in a press conference Tuesday announcing that he had signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins to retire as a Bruin. “I knew where I was but that was not the main reason. I think the main reason was just to be home with my family.”
After parting ways with the Bruins on the ice following the COVID-interrupted 2019-20 season Zdeno Chara played for the Washington Capitals in the 2021 56-game shortened season. Chara then returned to the team he began his career with, the New York Islanders for the 2021-22 season. As it turned out, he went full circle in doing so and announced his retirement in an Instagram post Tuesday morning.
While his game may have been declining on the ice, it was how he felt off the ice being away from his family for months at a time. As Chara admitted, that hurt more than his aging body and was the biggest reason he hung up his skates for good on Tuesday.
“The last two years I’ve been away constantly and it was weighing on me way too much,” Chara acknowledged. “I knew that first of all it was time, it was the right time to step away, and having three kids at home and being involved, and not to miss you know. …their birthdays, their special occasions, it was just. …I knew; I knew that was the right decision and I’m completely happy with it. I have no regrets. I would not change a thing.
We are in a business where everything is judged by winning but I had my shares of the highs and the lows,” Chara pointed out. “That’s OK. That’s part of it and you learn from it and you grow as a player and you grow as a person. So I’m completely at peace with it and I’m happy with it.”