Editor’s note: On Sunday, May 31, at 7 p.m. ET, NESN will be airing “Chara at 1000,” celebrating Zdeno Chara reaching the 1,000 game milestone in a Bruins uniform. In the lead-up to that, we will be remembering Chara’s finest moments in Boston — both on and off the ice. For more stories celebrating Chara, click here.
Zdeno Chara always has looked out for his Boston Bruins brethren.
The 43-year-old has filled the big brother role throughout much of the 14 years he’s spent in Boston. And that experience, paired with his sincerity as a teammate and overall knowledge of the game, has earned him the respect of all teammates.
That respect, however, goes both ways. And it’s depicted by our top Chara moment as a teammate. Even if, ironically, it is due to something Chara actually has never done.
The Bruins captain spearheaded the effort to ensure there would not be hazing of rookie teammates. Chara explained why he was against it to The Athletic’s Joe McDonald in November 2019.
“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?” Chara 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.”
Chara also told McDonald how he was hazed as a rookie, and that experience made him realize if he ever were to take over as a team’s leader, it wouldn’t be how he went about welcoming players. Chara was named the Bruins’ captain in 2006, his first season after signing with the Bruins as a free agent.
And it’s that class that not only earned him the “C” in the first place, but also has led him to keep it ever since.