Where do you begin with Big Z?
Zdeno Chara, in so many ways, is larger than life. His 6'9" frame was the tallest of any player to ever don a sweater in the NHL. After being drafted 56th overall by the New York Islanders in 1996, he made a stop in Ottawa, before he joined the Bruins in 2006. He established himself as one of the best defenders to ever play the game of hockey, and of course, one of the best to ever wear the spoked-B.
Across his 25-year pro career which ended on a one-day contract with the Bruins earlier this year, he earned a Norris Trophy for the best defenseman, won the Mark Messier Leadership Award given to the player who exemplifies "great leadership qualities," made six appearances in the NHL All Star Game, and played the most games by a defender in NHL history.
If you ask Bruins fans what's most important, his 14-year stint as the team captain and hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2011 are unquestionably the responses.
Philanthropically, Big Z has turned into a role model in the Boston area for how one should give back to his community. He placed a heavy emphasis on community service, giving countless hours to local hospitals, schools, and other causes.
It's fair to say Zdeno Chara's legacy carries far beyond the Bruins locker room and the Boston community.
I had the honor of introducing Zdeno Chara back to TD Garden on October 22nd, and I can confidently say that this was one of the all-time high's of my PA announcing career. Take a look inside the booth with me and re-live it all!