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Zdeno Chara hangs up the skates, the legendary defenseman retires at 45

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Legendary NHL defenseman Zdeno Chara announced his retirement at 45.

“After 25 seasons of professional hockey, 1,680 NHL regular season games, 200 Stanley Cup playoff games and hundreds of international games, I am proud to announce my decision to retire from the [NHL],” he wrote on Instagram this morning.

Chara played his last season with the Islanders, the team that drafted him back in 1997. He returned to the team this past season on a one-year deal. Last season, he became the NHL’s all-time leader in games play by a defenseman with 1,652 career appearances.

The towering defenseman stood 6-foot-9 and was known for vicious hits and blazing slap shot.

The majority of his career he played in Boston, where he would captain the Bruins in three Stanley Cup Finals: 2011, 2013 and 2019. His first and only Cup victory came in 2011 over the Vancouver Canucks. He intends on signing a one-day deal with the team to retire as a Bruin.

Over his career, Big Z totaled 680 regular season points, with 209 goals and 471 assists. The future Hall-of-Famer has three first team All-Stars on his resume. He also won the Norris Trophy in 2009, an award the goes to the best defenseman in the NHL.

Below is a highlight reel of his career.

Top: New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara (33) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday, April 29, 2022, in Elmont, N.Y.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)