At 6-foot-9, Chara is one of the most intimidating players the game has ever seen. From his bone-crushing hits, jaw-dropping fights and invaluable leadership both on and off the ice, it’s almost impossible to quantify the impact he has made since joining the Boston Bruins in 2006.
The longtime Boston captain will add another milestone to his list when he suits up for his 1500th career NHL regular-season game on Tuesday night.
“That’s a lot of games,” Chara said with a smile before Tuesday’s clash with the rival Canadiens. “Obviously I am very humble about it. There are so many people I should be thanking, starting with my parents.”
Chara will become the 21st player in league history — and only the sixth defenseman — to reach the 1500-game milestone when he touches the Bell Centre ice for his first shift. His illustrious 22-year career includes a handful of All-Star Game appearances, a Norris Trophy in 2009 and of course hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Yet, Chara’s leadership and mentoring of young players over the years stands out more than any other accolade. The 42-year-old treats every player that steps in Boston’s locker room with the same respect regardless of age and ability. His influence over the last decade-plus created a high-standard culture both on and off the ice.
Look no further than Charlie McAvoy as an example of Chara’s leadership by example. The talented 21-year-old has flourished under Chara’s guidance during the first few years of his professional hockey development.
“It’s something where I forget and have to remember how lucky and fortunate to play with a guy like that who has done so many things throughout his career,” McAvoy said as he attempted to withhold his excitement.
“He has meant so much to me and this team day in and day out. I couldn’t be happier for him, I’ll make sure to give him a big hug tonight.”
He’ll get his hugs, but the Bruins would also love to extend their hot streak as Chara hits another milestone. The future Hall of Famer wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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