J.J. Watt Says Zdeno Chara Is Favorite NHL Player, Hockey Was ‘First Love’ Growing Up

J.J. WattIf J.J. Watt ever runs himself out of football, the Bruins should look into pairing the 6-foot-5, 289-pound defensive end with the 6-foot-9, 256-pound Zdeno Chara on the blue line.

Watt is already a big fan of the defenseman’s game, after all.

Watt shared his affinity for hockey with Peter King this week, calling Chara his favorite player and reminiscing about playing as a kid. He said hockey was his “first love” and that he likely would have pursued it if not for the costs.

“I grew up in Wisconsin loving hockey,” he said, according to mmqb.com. “I mean, I started when I was 3 years old on skates. I played all over — in Canada all the time, all over the U.S., over in Germany for a 10-day tournament. Hockey, honestly, was my first love. The excitement, the fast pace, the intensity of the game. … I still love it to this day.

“Really, I had to quit. It was financial. I have two younger brothers, and we were all playing on a travel team, and it was extremely expensive. My family is a middle class family. When I grew up and learned how much it actually cost for us to play hockey, I could not believe that my parents let us play as long as they did. Now I’m forever grateful for my parents even giving me the opportunity, because honestly, those were some of the best years of my life.”

Watt said he was a center and a goal scorer then, because he “wasn’t always this big.” But he now appreciates how Chara is “representing” for all the bigger athletes.

“I love him,” Watt said. “I love his physical brand of hockey.”

Somebody get that guy some skates.