‘I will always love Boston’: Longtime Bruins captain Chara joins Washington Capitals

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WASHINGTON (WPRI/AP) — Longtime Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara signed with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, a stunning move less than a week before most NHL teams open training camp.

Chara agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $795,000.

The 43-year-old defenseman posted on Instagram that the Bruins have decided to move forward with younger players. He had been Boston’s captain since 2006 and was the second European captain to win the Stanley Cup.

“We are extremely pleased to have Zdeno join the Capitals organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We feel his experience and leadership will strengthen our blue line and our team.”

The 6-foot-9 Chara is a seven-time All-Star who won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2009. He led the Bruins to the Cup in 2011 and trips to the final in 2013 and 2019.

In an Instagram post, Chara expressed his gratitude to his coaches, teammates and fans.

“The Boston Bruins have informed me that they plan to move forward with their many younger and talented players and I respect their decision,” Chara wrote.

“As I begin this next chapter, I want the people of Boston to know how proud I was to be a Bruin and how grateful I am for all of the support over the years,” he continued. “‘Thank you’ does not seem adequate to express my sincere gratitude. I will always be a Bruin. I will always love Boston.”

Chara and his camp had been in talks with the Bruins since before free agency opened in October. It seemed likely the native of Slovakia would return to Boston unless he decided to retire.

He now starts a new chapter, uniting with Alex Ovechkin as each star looks to win the Cup for a second time.

Read Chara’s full Instagram post below:

“My family and I have been so fortunate to call the great city of Boston our home for over 14 years. Recently, The Boston Bruins have informed me that they plan to move forward with their many younger and talented players and I respect their decision. Unfortunately, my time as the proud Captain of the Bruins has come to an end.

I want to first of all thank the passionate and loyal Bruins fans, who shared the ups and downs of each season over the past 14 years. I’m proud that we were able to return the Stanley Cup to Boston and celebrating with all of you, in Boston, New England, and around the world, was a moment I will never forget. You all have treated my family and me as one of your own and I will always be grateful. Thank you.  

I would also like to thank all of the Bruins staff. The trainers, equipment staff, medical staff (all doctors, dentists and therapists), PR and hockey operations, the front office staff, arena staff, security and everyone who helped make the past 14 years so memorable. While there are too many names to mention, please know how sincerely grateful I am to each of you.

I want to thank the Jacobs family for the opportunity to represent the Bruins as their Captain. I am grateful and proud of everything we accomplished.

To all of my teammates throughout the years in Boston, I am so lucky to have a lifetime of memories that I will never forget. From the highest highs to the lowest lows, we were always a team, we were always there for each other and those bonds and friendships will never be forgotten.

My family and I will always cherish the strong friendships and connections we made here. From the beginning in 2006, we have been embraced by this community and made to feel welcome. We will always be grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the community and for the people who always supported me and my family.

As I begin this next chapter, I want the people of Boston to know how proud I was to be a Bruin and how grateful I am for all of the support over the years. “Thank you” does not seem adequate to express my sincere gratitude. I will always be a Bruin. I will always love Boston.

Thank you.

Zee”

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