The Oldest NHL Player In 2019 That Still Doesn’t Plan To Retire
The sport of hockey has been around for longer than people think. Ancient Greek artifacts depict two opponents competing in what looks to be field hockey. The Mongolians had a similar game early in their country’s history. In today’s sports world, it is widely played across North America and some other parts of the world.
Although many countries have entire teams training, the title of ‘oldest player’ can only go to one person.
Never Too Old
When it comes to the sport of football, someone as young as 30 years old is considered ‘older’ than most. That number goes up at least a decade for the oldest player in the NHL. Zdeno Chara, a defenseman in the sport, is current acting captain of the Boston Bruins professional hockey team.
Before retiring, professional hockey player Mat Cullen (21 seasons, 1500+ games) held the title of oldest active NHL player. Zdeno Chara is currently 42 years old, while Cullen will celebrate the big 43 in the month of November.
Chara is both the oldest and tallest. The Bruins captain stands at a staggering 6-foot-9.
As for how much longer he’ll play, that remains to be seen. He will be playing for at least another year, with his 43rd birthday during his active season.
The Next Run
Previously, Chara had played over 900 games so far, scoring more than 130 goals and getting as many as 324 assists. This year, if his teams played as well as they have recently, they should have a direct road to the Stanley Cup.
Boston Bruins is the most recent team that Zdeno Chara has been a part of. He has played for the likes of the Sparta Prague, New York Islanders, Ottowa Senators, and the Lev Praha.
A Giant among Men
Because of his height, the Slovakian-born athlete had people telling him early in life that he should give basketball a chance. That same height that made a potentially great player forced the NHL to make a special exception to allow Chara to use a hockey stick two inches longer than allowed for shorter players.
Chara has so far made a total of 63 goals from 2012 to 2019 with the Boston Bruins, with a career total of about 200. Throughout his whole career, he’s had as many as 442 assists.
A specialized hockey stick was not the only change that Zdeno Chara brought to the National Hockey League. Normally, when a player checks an opponent uses their stick as a weapon or starts a fight, they are given a two-minute penalty. The huge hit he delivered earned him a 5-minute penalty from playing.
During a game on March 8th, 2011, during a game against the Montreal Canadiens, Chara checked player Max Pacioretty so hard into a pole that it gave the opposing player a fractured vertebra and a concussion.
It was the incident between Chara and Pacioretty that prompted the league to place curved glass by the end of player benches, allowing for a lower risk of such an injury happening again.
The Zdeno Chara We Don’t Know
Like most people, Chara is a family man. He married his then-girlfriend Tatiana Biskupicova in July of 2007. Together, they raise children Elliz Victoria Chara (born April 27th, 2009) and twin boys Zack and Ben (born March 7, 2016).
Competing in sports seems to be in the blood since his father, Zdenek Chara, was a well-known figure in the world of Greco-Roman wrestling.
As an ‘Athletic Ambassador’ for the nonprofit group Right to Play, Chara spends a great deal of time traveling the world in his off-season. With the help of the 6-foot-9 captain and other professional athletes, Right to Play helps to bring educational games to places that have more hardship.
He also helped advocate for the acceptance of gay NHL hockey players through the You Can Play campaign, started in 2012 by pro athletes Patrick Burke, Brian Kitts, and Glen Witman.
Just as Brainy
Chara can speak seven languages: Czech, Polish, Swedish, Russian, German, English, and his native Slovak. He needs no help in managing his finances, thanks to the financial planning degree he received after graduating from Ottowa Algonquin College. He also received his real estate license in 2015.
When Zdeno Chara retires, it should come as no surprise if he ends up selling real estate or helping high profile names shop for the ‘right thing.’