Zdeno Chára, 2007
March 18, 1977 |
|Height||6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)|
|Weight||255 lb (116 kg; 18 st 3 lb)|
SHK 37 Piestany
HC Sparta Praha
New York Islanders
|NHL Draft||56th overall, 1996
New York Islanders
Zdeno Chára (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈzdeno ˈxaːra]; born March 18, 1977) is a Slovak professional ice hockey defenseman and captain of the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). He won the James Norris Memorial Trophy while playing for the Bruins in 2008–09. At 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m), he is the tallest player ever to play in the NHL. He is also the second European-born and trained captain to win the Stanley Cup and the first born and trained in a country beyond the Iron Curtain.[notes 1]
Playing career 
New York Islanders (1997–2001) 
Chára was drafted 56th overall by the New York Islanders in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft from HC Sparta Praha. Chára would spend his first season in North America with the Prince George Cougars, who subsequently selected Chára in that year's CHL Import Draft. Chára spent four seasons with the Islanders organization, becoming a reliable stay at home defender in a primarily defensive role. He earned a reputation as a tough player to play against – intimidating, physically strong, and a punishing hitter who could, on occasion, fight. His physical strength also gave him a very hard slap shot, which seemed to improve each season, although Chára was never deployed in an offensive role as an Islander. He was traded to the Ottawa Senators during the 2001 NHL Entry Draft as part of a blockbuster deal to acquire Alexei Yashin which was believed at the time would vastly improve the Islanders, never a contending team when Chára played there. Chára was part of a package deal including Bill Muckalt along with a second overall pick from that year's draft (who turned out to be Jason Spezza), all of whom were needed to secure Yashin for Long Island.
Ottawa Senators (2001–2006) 
The Senators knew from observation that Chára would be a reliable defender, and knew that he was growing into his body and improving his skills each year. However, Chára grew in ways that exceeded all expectations in his first year in Ottawa, recording new career highs in goals (10) and points (23) as he turned into a bona fide two-way defenseman during 2001–02. His powerful slapshot continued to improve, and Ottawa began deploying him on the powerplay to use it, something the Islanders had rarely done. It resulted in 4 of Chára's goals being scored with the man advantage that first season. The following year, in 2002–03, Chára began to blossom into an elite NHL defenseman. He posted new career highs with 30 assists and 39 points and became one of Ottawa's top two defenders, along with Wade Redden, earning his first All-Star Game appearance, where he recorded the second hardest shot behind Al MacInnis in the skills competition.
In 2003–04, Chara posted career bests with 16 goals and 41 points, and recorded the league's third highest plus/minus, behind Martin St. Louis and Marek Malík, culminating in his first Norris Trophy nomination. Although he would lose to Scott Niedermayer as the league's best defenseman, he would join Niedermayer on the NHL First All-Star Team.
After the 2004–05 NHL lockout, in which Chára played in the Swedish Elitserien for Färjestads BK, he matched his previous NHL season's 16-goal total and tallied a career best 43 points, good enough for NHL Second All-Star Team honors. Following the season, Ottawa was faced with the possible loss of its two top defensemen (Chára and Redden), and finances dictated they could only sign one. Ottawa chose Redden. As Chára did not come to terms on a new contract with Ottawa, he became an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2005–06.
Boston Bruins (2006–present) 
Subsequently, on July 1, 2006, he signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins and was named the team's captain, a role left vacant since Joe Thornton's departure during the 2005–06 season. He became only the third Slovak-born NHL player to become a team captain, after Peter Šťastný of the Quebec Nordiques and Stan Mikita (co-captain) of the Chicago Blackhawks. He was named to the 2007 All-Star Game, his second appearance, in Dallas and scored two goals in an 12–9 Eastern Conference loss. Chára also won the hardest shot segment of the preceding skills competition, clocking a shot at 100.4 mph. While his season was a personal success for many of these reasons, the Bruins were in a rebuilding mode at the time, and the signing was questioned throughout the league as Chára posted an uncharacteristic −21 +/- rating that season due to the Bruins struggles. His 32 assists, however, were a new career high.
In 2007–08, he was voted a starter in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, the first time in his career he received such All-Star Game honors. He repeated as the winner of the hardest shot competition, recording an even-faster 103.1 mph (166 km/h) on the radar gun. On March 8, 2008, during a game against the Washington Capitals, Chára suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder. However, after missing five games, he played the remainder of the season including the playoffs. Upon a first-round elimination at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens, he underwent a shoulder operation on April 29. At the end of the season, Chára received his second nomination for the Norris Trophy after tallying a career-high 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points, marking the fifth straight season he had either matched or bested his previous season's points total. The Bruins improved tremendously this season, and the critics who had questioned the Bruins' signing of Chára the previous season were largely silenced by his, and the team's, improved play.
In 2008–09, Chára was named to his fourth All-Star Game. As back-to-back champion of the hardest shot competition, Chára initiated a charity drive among the participants ($1,000 per player) to go to the charity of choice of the competition's winner. The 2009 installation of the event featured additional intrigue, as three players widely considered to possess the hardest shots in the NHL (Chára, Sheldon Souray, and Shea Weber) had all been chosen as All-Stars, and therefore would participate in the event. Having raised $24,000 from the six competitors and their respective teams, the NHL and the NHLPA, Chára set a new Skills Competition record, with a 105.4 mph (169.7 km/h) slapshot. He donated the winnings to Right to Play, and due to Chára's leading role in fundraising for charity, the hardest shot competition that year was punningly dubbed a "Chára"ty event. The shot passed Al Iafrate's previous record 105.2 mph (169.3 km/h) slapper from the 1993 competition. During the season, Chára posted a career best 19 goals, and eclipsed his career best points total, reaching the 50 point plateau for the second consecutive year with a goal and an assist in his final game of the season. For his efforts, he won his first Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman, beating out Mike Green of the Washington Capitals and Nicklas Lidström of the Detroit Red Wings. Chára would post another standout season in 2009–10, scoring 44 points. His goal total fell to 7 from the year before, but his play was as strong as ever, leading the Bruins to lock him up long term with a contract extension – on October 9, 2010, Chara re-signed with the Bruins on a 7-year deal.
In 2010–11, his 14 goals and 44 points were another strong campaign, leading to yet another All-Star selection and new heights as his slapshot continued to break records at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina. He eclipsed his own previous record with a shot clocked at 105.9 mph (170.43 km/h). He also achieved a personal milestone that is exceptionally rare for a defenceman – on January 17, 2011, Chara recorded his first career hat trick against the Carolina Hurricanes in a 7–0 victory. He celebrated the feat by performing retired Slovak NHL star Peter Bondra's celebration, where he mocked throwing a hat into the air. The 2010–11 season culminated in the ultimate glory for Chára, as he captained the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup against the Vancouver Canucks for the first time since 1972. In doing so, Chára became the first Slovak to captain a Stanley Cup Champion, and only the second European after Nicklas Lidström of Sweden had done so as captain of the Detroit Red Wings. He also became the first player born in a country behind the Iron Curtain to captain a Stanley Cup winner.
At the 2012 NHL All-Star Game's Hardest Shot skill competition, Chára yet again raised his measured hardest slap shot velocity to another record, attaining an astonishing 108.8 mph (175.1 km/h). Runner-up Shea Weber surpassed Chára's 2011 event record by recording a 106.0 mph blast in the same contest, so Chára's performance ensured that he kept his crown.
Chára is widely considered to have the hardest slapshot in the NHL, and quite possibly the world – the KHL claims the world record belongs to Alex Riazantsev at 114.1 mph, but due to differences in the mechanics of the KHL competition, the NHL does not recognize this figure. Chára has won the hardest shot competition at the All-Star Game Skills Competition five times in a row – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 (Note: there was no NHL All-Star Game in 2010, due to NHL player participation in the 2010 Winter Olympics, and also in 2013 as a result of the 2012-13 NHL lockout).
Chara played his 1,000th career NHL game on March 24, 2012 against the Los Angeles Kings, a 4–2 victory for the Bruins.
During the 2012 NHL lockout, Chara agreed to play for Prague of the Kontinental Hockey League until the NHL resumed. He returned from the lockout to post another solid season, with 7 goals and 12 assists in the 48 game season. His point totals were down due to some of Boston's struggles down the stretch, particularly on the power play, where Chara surprisingly only posted 1 assist all season despite plenty of ice time in man advantage situations. However, he remained a rock on defense, and a key contributor for the playoff bound Bruins squad.
Pacioretty Incident 
On March 8, 2011, Chara almost ended the career of Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty through a hard hit directly into an off-ice stanchion. The force and on-ice location of the hit resulted in Pacioretty's head colliding with the stanchion at the end of the bench. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher. The extent of the injury was revealed the next day to be a non-displaced fracture to the 4th vertebra and a severe concussion. For delivering the hit, Chára received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct, and videotape of the play was sent to NHL VP of hockey operations Mike Murphy for review. Mike Murphy decided no further punishment was warranted, calling it a "hockey play". However, a criminal investigation was announced by the Montreal police. On November 17, 2011, the Crown Prosecutor Office announced that Chára would not be criminally charged. Though the hit and Chara's intent remain very controversial, further investigation into the incident was dropped, and Pacioretty eventually made a full recovery, returning to Montreal the following season.
- Named 2012 Norris Trophy Finalist.
- Named 2011 Norris Trophy Finalist.
- Played in NHL All-Star Game in 2003, 2007, 2008 (starter), 2009, 2011 and 2012 (captain).
- Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 2004 and 2009.
- Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2006, 2008 and 2011.
- Won the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2009.
- Won the Hardest Shot competition at the NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 where he set a record of 108.8 mph (175.5 km/hr).
- Won the NHL Plus-Minus Award in 2011 with a +33 rating.
- Won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2011.
- Won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
- First NHL player born inside the Iron Curtain to captain an NHL team to the Stanley Cup (2011).
- Award for 1000 games played on March 27, 2012
- NHL All-Star Skills Competition hardest shot record – 108.8 mph (175.5 km/hr) (2012) (surpassed his previous record from 2011 at 105.9 mph, which surpassed a second previous record of his from 2009 at 105.4 mph)
Personal life 
Zdeno Chára married his long-time girlfriend Tatiana Biskupicová on July 14, 2007, in a Catholic church in Nemšová, Slovakia. Tatiana gave birth to the couple's first child, daughter Elliz Victoria Chára (or Chárová) on April 27, 2009. His father, Zdenek, was a prominent Greco-Roman wrestler who competed for Czechoslovakia in the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Chára is an Athletic Ambassador for Right to Play. In July 2008, he spent two weeks in Africa, going to Mozambique in support of the charity, and then climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with fellow NHL player Robyn Regehr.
Career statistics 
|1996–97||Prince George Cougars||WHL||49||3||19||22||120||15||1||7||8||45|
|1997–98||New York Islanders||NHL||25||0||1||1||50||—||—||—||—||—|
|1998–99||Lowell Lock Monsters||AHL||23||2||2||4||47||—||—||—||—||—|
|1998–99||New York Islanders||NHL||59||2||6||8||83||—||—||—||—||—|
|1999–00||New York Islanders||NHL||65||2||9||11||57||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||New York Islanders||NHL||82||2||7||9||157||—||—||—||—||—|
|2001–02||HK Dukla Trenčín||SVK||8||2||2||4||32||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||HC Lev Praha||KHL||25||4||6||10||24||—||—||—||—||—|
International play 
|Competitor for Slovakia|
Chára has played for Slovakia in the following international competitions:
- 1999 World Championships
- 2000 World Championships
- 2001 World Championships
- 2004 World Championships
- 2004 World Cup
- 2005 World Championships
- 2006 Winter Olympics
- 2007 World Championships
- 2010 Winter Olympics
- 2012 World Championships
International statistics 
|World Championships Totals||55||8||6||14||40|
|World Cup of Hockey Totals||4||0||2||2||8|
See also 
- List of NHL players with 1000 games played
- List of Boston Bruins players
- List of current NHL captains
- Slovaks in the NHL
- Wigge, Larry (2003). "Chara towers over NHL All-Stars". NHL.com. Retrieved April 24, 2008.[dead link]
- "MacInnis has still got NHL's hardest shot". CNN Sports Illustrated. February 1, 2003. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
- "Bruins sign Chara to five-year deal". ESPN. July 1, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
- "Chara named Bruins captain". Globe and Mail (Toronto). October 3, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2008.[dead link]
- "Crosby, East win SuperSkills competition". ESPN. January 25, 2007. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
- Allen, Kevin (January 26, 2008). "Ovechkin, Chara dazzle in NHL All-Star prelude". USA Today. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
- "Bruins D Chara has shoulder surgery". Yahoo!. April 30, 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2008.
- Shinzawa, Fluto (January 9, 2009). "Chara, Thomas and Savard added to all-star team". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- "Charitable Chara wins NHL's hardest-shot competition". CBC. January 24, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
- van Steendelaar, Kevin (January 24, 2009). "2009 NHL All-Star Game: Hardest Shot Contest: Now a "Chara"ty Event!". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=540081 NHL.com, October 9, 2010
- Wyshynski, Greg (January 18, 2011). "Peter Bondra on Zdeno Chara borrowing his hat-trick celebration". Yahoo. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- "Bruins capture Stanley Cup". Globe and Mail (Canada). August 24, 2012.
- Erin Nicks, NHL.com Correspondent (January 28, 2012). "Chara sets record while keeping Hardest Shot title". NHL. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- Greg Wyshynski (January 21, 2012). "KHL's Alexander Ryazantsev sets new 'world record' for hardest shot at 114 mph". Yahoo. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- Kevin Allen (October 2, 2012). "Bruins' Zdeno Chara leads day's exodus to Europe". USA Today. Retrieved November 10th 2012.
- "Max Pacioretty taken off ice on stretcher / Video". National Hockey League. March 8, 2011.
- "Fractured Vertebra for Pacioretty". Montreal Gazette. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- "Zdeno Chara won't be suspended or fined by NHL for hit on Pacioretty". NESN. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- "Pacioretty on-ice hit to be investigated by police". CBC News. Mar 10, 2011. Retrieved Mar 10, 2011.
- "Zdeno Chara of Bruins won't be charged". ESPN. Nov 17, 2011. Retrieved Nov 17, 2011.
- "Zdeno Chara Slapshot".
- Robinson, Joshua (2009). 30 Seconds with Zdeno Chara – Standing Up Tall for Himself. The New York Times, March 7, 2009
- Shinzawa, Fluto (July 8, 2007). "Hamill a true surprise pick". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
- Dupont, Kevin Paul (August 25, 2006). "Perfect fit". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 26, 2008.
- Simpson, Rob. "Chara's Challenge: Zee vs. The Mountain". Bruins.com. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- Simpson, Rob. "Bruins, Boots and Blisters". Bruins.com. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- Bishop, John (2010). "Bruins by the Numbers: 33". BostonBruins.Com. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Zdeno Chára|
- Zdeno Chára's player profile at NHL.com
- Zdeno Chara at Hockey-Reference.com
- Zdeno Chára's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Zdeno Chára at the Internet Movie Database
|Boston Bruins captain
|Awards and achievements|
|Norris Trophy winner