Zdeno Chara always looked out for his teammates. He’s one of the best defensemen ever, and he played his first game in the NHL in the 90s and didn’t retire until last year. Few players have played more NHL games than Chara’s 1 680, and few have been so incredibly well-liked as him.
Chara was always a fan favorite and gave everything to his team and teammates. On and off, the ice. Although Chara recorded 680 points in his 24-season-long career, he was mostly known for his great defensive abilities. And his perhaps biggest asset was his calmness and how great of a leader he was in the locker room.
One thing that made Chara stand out was how he treated rookies. Chara was bullied as a young hockey player, and he knows how it is to be new in a group.
Most NHL teams have a rookie ritual, where a newcomer has to skate a lap on his own before a game. Boston Bruins never had it, and it was Chara’s wish.
“I’ve been through some stuff and had to do certain things as a young player, and I didn’t like it,” Chara told The Athletic. “Right then I made up my mind if I was ever in control of that kind of environment and could make a change, I would do it.”
Zdeno Chara never called a rookie for a rookie. Instead, he always described them as ”first-year players.”
“I don’t use the word ‘rookie’ because it just doesn’t sound right,” Chara said. “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.”
Zdeno Chara always believed in treating everybody on the team as equals.
“How can you expect something out of a young player on the ice when you treat him differently off the ice?” Chara said. “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.”