Zdeno Chara Shares How He ‘Co-Captained’ Bruins With Patrice Bergeron

'... He was what I wasn't'


Jan 24, 2023

Zdeno Chara was the captain of the Bruins for 14 years, but he couldn’t have led the Black and Gold without his teammates.

Chara was a force for Boston during his time with the organization. He played 1,000 games for the Bruins, was a Norris Trophy winner and a well-respected teammate in the locker room.

At 6-foot-9, he already was an intimidating player on the ice. Chara never was afraid to drop the gloves and stand up for his teammates and never let an injury hold him back (just look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Final when he broke his jaw).

One might think Chara was just as intimidating in the locker room, but he was someone who never saw himself as a lone-wolf type of leader.

Chara joined the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast and shared a lot of insight about his time as the captain of the Bruins, including how he shared that responsibility — especially in 2011 when they won the Stanley Cup.

But no one helped him lead more than Bergeron because they balanced each other out perfectly.

“At that time, it was a great balance between me and Bergy. Patrice is just an unbelievable leader, unbelievable human being, person. Outgoing,” Chara said. “It was great for me to have him because he was what I wasn’t. And I said it, were co-captains. It was not that I was the guy. I welcomed guys on the leadership group. We had probably five, six guys making decisions together.

“I shared leadership because I wanted to have guys’ input. I included Shawn Thornton, Mark Recchi, (Andrew) Ference, I put guys in because that was great. I couldn’t make the right calls all the time. It’s always better to have other guys saying to me, like ‘hey why don’t we try that? Yeah, (expletive) right. That’s great. I enjoyed that. And Patrice was such a tremendous — my wingman for 14 years.”

Bergeron took over as the Bruins captain the year after Chara left the organization. He played two more seasons — one with the Washington Capitals and one with the New York Islanders — before returning to Boston on a one-day contract in order to retire as a member of the Bruins.

Chara was a staple to the Bruins and it’s clear he thought highly of his teammates to include them in leadership and knew that working together only would make them stronger.

Up next for Chara is having his No. 33 retired by the team and undoubtedly reaching the Hall of Fame when he’s eligible.

Thumbnail photo via James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports Images
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