Zdeno Chara is 42 years old and close to 20 years older than most of his Bruins teammates, so it’s no surprise the Boston defenseman acts as a father-figure to the younger players, especially the newcomers.
In an exclusive interview with The Athletic’s Joe McDonald, Chara opened up about how he was hazed as a rookie and knew if he ever was given a chance to lead a team, he wouldn’t go about welcoming the newcomers that way.
“I don’t use the word ‘rookie’ because it just doesn’t sound right,” Chara told McDonald. “Little things go a long way and make a big difference for these young men who are trying to stay and establish themselves in the league. If we can help them out in any way, then that’s great.
“How can you expect something out of a young player on the ice when you treat him differently off the ice?” he added. “I believe in certain acts or behaviors, and it’s a standard for me that we’re not going to be using anything against anyone.”
There’s a reason he wears the C on his jersey.
Chara is in the midst of his 14th season with the Bruins and 22nd in the NHL. He’ll be playing in his 1,500th career game Tuesday night when Boston takes on the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. The 42-year-old has earned the respect of multiple players — young and old — and coaches throughout the league.
And it’s clear he wants to be able to make sure the newcomers to the team don’t feel the way he did when he entered his rookie season.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images