TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 29: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins warms up prior to Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 29, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

After hearing the news of Zdeno Chara retiring from the National Hockey League, I did not know how to feel initially. Being a Boston Bruins fan my entire life, it was almost as if I was saying goodbye to a piece of my childhood, a portion of the sport I grew up loving, and a part of my city that never fails to win sports games.

Chara was known for his dominating presence on the ice; being six feet, nine inches, not in skates can definitely be a little intimidating. Add a slap shot over one hundred miles per hour and the Big Bad Bruins skating alongside him; he was considered one of the best to ever do it.

Although his career did not end with the Bruins, I think many hockey fans can appreciate him endings his career where it all started, with the New York Islanders. Of his 1,680 games played, 1,023 of them were played wearing a black and gold jersey. After fourteen seasons spent in a city known for its ‘dirty water’ and drunk Irishmen, I am surprised Chara lasted so long; however, with the entire city cheering him on as he stepped onto the ice, I can understand why he stayed as long as he did.

As a young hockey player living in a suburb of Boston, Chara was always someone I had looked up to; he was someone I wanted to be on and off the ice. Now while it is obvious why a little girl from Boston who plays hockey would want to be like one of the biggest names in hockey at the time, Chara’s actions off the ice are what drew me into his performance and the way he carried himself in all aspects of life.

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I can recall a time when I was in the fifth grade, getting ready for a school assembly because we had one of the regional BoxTops competitions. For those of you who do not know what this competition consists of, it is collecting the BoxTops found on cereal boxes and bringing them to your teacher in order to receive a book fair or some kind of themed party. However, for this specific year, we were collecting BoxTops for something bigger… a meet and greet with Zdeno Chara.

Boston Bruins legend Zdeno Chara hangs up the skates

After hearing this news, the pair of kitchen scissors in my house was my best friend for the next three months because I wanted to cut out as many BoxTops as possible in order to meet one of the greatest to put on skates.

My school ended up winning the competition because I was not the only crazed young hockey player who loved the Boston Bruins; however, even with all of the commotion that came with this meet and greets, Chara still made it a point to say hello to every child that came up to talk to him. He was not visibly annoyed or overwhelmed by the number of high-pitched screams unleashed as soon as he walked through the double doors to the gymnasium.

Although Chara is no longer representing a team, organization, or the city I grew up in,  it is moments similar to the ones that occurred in my elementary school gymnasium that day that make me realize that athletes commit themselves to a sport to give back to something greater than themselves, and for that, I will forever be thankful to be a Boston sports fan.

Tagging: where does chara live, how many stanley cups has chara won, one day contract to retire, toronto maple leafs trade rumors, zdeno chara hall of fame, oldest active nhl player.

via: Chowder and Champions.

Zdeno Chara, the hulking defenseman who captained the Boston Bruins to their sixth Stanley Cup, announced Tuesday he is retiring from the NHL.21 hours ago

Zdeno Chara reveals he's signing one-day contract to retire a Bruin. The 45-year-old defenseman signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins on Tuesday to retire from the NHL as a member of the organization, he announced on Instagram.

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3. Zdeno Chara To Sign One-Day Contract, Retire With Bruins

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5. Zdeno Chara Signs One-Day Contract To Retire With Bruins - NESN

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