One of the best defensemen of the modern era is officially hanging them up.
Following 25 remarkable years in the NHL that will almost certainly lead to an induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Zdeno Chara announced his retirement from the game of hockey on Tuesday morning, stepping away from the sport with a career total of 1,680 games under his belt to go with 209 goals, 471 assists, and 680 points.
Chara will now return to Boston in order to sign a one-day contract and retire as a Bruin. He also spent various stints with the Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals, and New York Islanders.
It's difficult to pinpoint any sort of accolade Chara didn't manage to capture during his extensive career. The former third-round pick in the 1996 NHL draft ran the gauntlet when it came to hardware, captaining the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011, winning the 2008-09 Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman, and earning a spot on seven All-Star teams, including three first-team selections.
Measuring in at a towering 6'9", Chara was arguably the NHL's most physically imposing defenseman during his prime, re-defining the way the position was played by pairing his massive size with acute hockey intellect to create a terrifying combination that was nearly impossible to match up against. Even in the later stages of his career, Chara still remained a serviceable NHL defender, logging nearly 19 minutes per night for the New York Islanders last season despite celebrating his 45th birthday.
There are a select few players in NHL history who feel like one-of-a-kind specimens. Chara is one of those players, as it seems as if there will never be another player quite like him, making today a bittersweet moment in hockey history.