BOSTON – Former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara stressed countless times during his retirement announcement that the city of Boston was “home” to him and his family, so it was no surprise that his final act as an NHL player was signing a one-day contract with the NHL team that made him a captain and a future Hall of Famer.
“I know I can walk away from the game with gratitude, honor and pride,” said Chara, while speaking on his retirement at TD Garden. “I have no regrets. I would not change a thing. We are in a business where everything’s judged by winning, but I had my shares of the highs and the lows. And that’s okay. That’s part of it. You learn from it, and you grow as a player, and you grow as a person. So I am completely at peace with it, and I’m happy with [my decision to retire].”
The 45-year-old did just that on Tuesday at TD Garden as Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney, President Cam Neely and owner Charlie Jacobs were on hand to fete the 6-foot-9 defenseman, and a 25-year NHL career that included 14 unforgettable years in Boston. Looking back on it now, the July opening to NHL free agency in 2006 was a turning point for a sinking Boston Bruins franchise that inked Zdeno Chara to a massive (at the time) five-year, $37.5 million deal luring him away from the Ottawa Senators.