That was the task given to Bruins alternate captains Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly, who needed to come up with something to give Bruins captain Zdeno Chara to mark his 1,000th game played in the NHL.
Chara reached the milestone on Saturday in Los Angeles, but the real special moment came before his first game back on home ice Tuesday against Tampa Bay, when he was honored in a pre-game ceremony marking the achievement.
Chara was given an etched Tiffany crystal, a silver replica of his stick and a framed painting of him launching one of his signature slap shots. Those gifts came from the league and the Bruins organization. But his teammates wanted to give him something special as well, and it was up to the alternate captains to come up with an idea.
"I did some investigations on the car rides with him," Ference said. "He's not a real materialistic kind of guy. We bounced around the idea of getting him a bike. He obviously likes his cycling, but he has a lot of those. The one thing he is passionate about, the same with his wife, is traveling, exploring, going different places."
With that background knowledge, Ference and his teammates presented Chara with a gift certificate for a vacation package to stay anywhere in the world.
"They're pretty adventurous, so that's just an opportunity for them to travel and get memories," Ference said. "That's the kind of guy he is. He'll take memories over something he can hold any day."
Chara, who was joined on the ice for the ceremony by his wife Tatiana and daughter Elliz Victoria, was appreciative of all the gifts and the support shown by the Garden fans. He showed his gratitude by going out and earning first star honors with three assists in Boston's 5-2 win over the Lightning.
"It's obviously very nice to get that recognition and ceremony," Chara said. "I very much appreciate it. It's very nice from the NHL, from the Boston Bruins organization, from my teammates and everybody that supported me. But when that ceremony is over, you have to focus on the game and you just got to be ready because you have to play 60 minutes. There's no other way to really describe it, just be ready and play hard the whole game."
Chara isn't quite as ready to commit to how he’ll use the gift from his teammates, as he has yet to choose a destination for his vacation.
"No, not yet," Chara said. "But again, I'm very appreciative of it. I think they know that I love to travel and so does my wife. We really enjoy it, so it was a very nice gift from them."
Ference just hopes that Chara comes up with someplace interesting to visit.
"He likes to live life and check things out, so it will be perfect," Ference said. "Hopefully he picks something exotic."
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