But could he join Boston in an operations role?
Chara on Tuesday signed a one-day contract to retire with the Bruins. Although the 45-year-old believes he still could suit up and play, he retired in order to spend more time with his wife and children after spending the last seasons away from Boston with the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders.
Now with all this extra time on his hands, many wondered whether Chara would accept a role within the Bruins organization.
“I’m just going to take my time right now to really be home and see how much free time I have before I can actually commit to anything. It’d be really unfair to myself, my family, or to whatever I decide to do hockey-wise, to commit to something without knowing I can be committed 100% to that specific job or task,” Chara said Tuesday at TD Garden during his retirement press conference. “I just want to enjoy being with my family, my kids especially. Just want to be taking days as they come. I think if there’s opportunities or there’s something that will present in the future, there’s always going to be a chance to step in. But as of right now, I’m just kind of going to take some time and see how it goes.”
President Cam Neely said Tuesday the door is open for Chara should he want that kind of role.
“I’m looking forward to having that conversation with him whenever he’s ready,” Neely said Tuesday. “Having Zdeno around in any capacity would be a huge boost. We’ll see where that goes. Any athlete that retires, whether it’s their choice or not, they still need some time to digest and figure out what the next chapter is going to be. Not many know what they’re going to be doing the following day after they retire.”
The Bruins officially began training camp Wednesday with off-ice workouts. So while no players met with the media, general manager Don Sweeney did and was asked a similar question regarding Chara about whether the door is open for him to return to the organization.
“We’ve had discussions about where he may want to jump in from a hockey ops standpoint,” Sweeney told reporters at Warrior Ice Arena, per the Bruins. “I think he was pretty clear (Tuesday) where his priorities are.”
That much is true. Chara couldn’t have made it clearer that he was ready to spend more time with his family and be more present. Who knows? Maybe in a year, fans will see Chara in an operations role and continuing to help the Bruins.
What we do know, though, is that we’ll certainly see the Charas sooner rather than later when his No. 33 gets raised to the TD Garden rafters.
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