BOSTON - Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is the Boston Bruins 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee, as selected by the Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer's Association (PHWA). The Masterton Trophy is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Chara was previously nominated for the award in 2017.
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound defenseman has epitomized sportsmanship and leadership throughout the 2018-19 campaign. Chara, who is in his 21st NHL season and 13th with Boston in 2018-19, has appeared in 58 games this season, recording five goals and nine assists for 14 points with a plus-20 rating (2nd on team). On March 23, he signed a one-year contract extension to return to the Bruins for his 22nd NHL season.
The 42-year-old defenseman has led the Bruins to a postseason berth in 10 of his 13 seasons with the team, including a Stanley Cup Championship in 2010-11. He ranks sixth in franchise history in games played (951), and fourth in points by a defenseman (455) behind Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Bobby Orr (888), and Dit Clapper (474).
Chara, who is the second-oldest active player in the NHL, is also the longest-tenured captain in the league, having worn the "C" for the Bruins since his first season in Boston in 2006-07. Among active NHL players, Chara ranks fourth in games played (1,481), first in plus/minus (plus-260), first in penalty minutes (1,896), first in time on ice (35,698:48) and 10th in shots (3,177). He also ranks sixth among active players in postseason games played (159), first in postseason plus/minus (plus-41), and second in postseason penalty minutes (192).
"With almost 1,500 games under his belt and at 42 years of age while still playing as a top defenseman, nobody in the NHL personifies dedication and perseverance to the game quite like Zdeno Chara," said PHWA Boston Chapter Chairman Joe Haggerty. "He's the consummate leader, a fierce competitor and somebody that commands respect from everybody on and off the ice. Chara has been dedicated to the game of hockey for his 20 plus year NHL career and that - along with his many on-ice accomplishments and off-ice charitable endeavors - makes him a quality choice by the Boston Chapter of the PHWA."
Over his 20-year NHL career, Chara has received several individual accolades. He was awarded the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman in 2008-09, after tallying a career-high 19 goals and 31 assists in 80 games with Boston. He was the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2010-11 for his exemplary leadership both on and off the ice. He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team three times (2003-04, 2008-09, 2013-14), the Second All-Star Team four times (2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12), and was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game five times (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12). He was also the recipient of the Golden Puck as Slovakia's Player of the Year three times (2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12).
Chara has represented his home country of Slovakia in international play on several occasions, including three Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), in which he has posted one goal and five assists in 17 games. Most recently, he served as alternate captain for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, notching two goals in six games to help lead the team to a second-place finish to Team Canada.
The Trencin, Slovakia native was originally selected by the New York Islanders in the third round (56th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
In addition to his commitment to work on the ice, Chara has been a fixture in the Boston community throughout his career. He annually takes part in the Bruins' Pucks and Paddles event to benefit Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. He also visits local children's hospitals for Halloween and Christmas, delivering toys and helping to brighten the days of the kids who have to spend their holidays away from home.
For the fourth straight year, Chara and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners teamed up with Cradles to Crayons and DCF Wonderfund, both non-profits that ensure positive living conditions for children, to lead their annual PJ Drive to benefit Massachusetts' youth in need. The PJ Drive provides new, unused pajamas to babies, children, and teens in communities across Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2007, over 100,000 Massachusetts children have received PJ's through the Bruins PJ drive.
This season, Chara also continued the Bruins annual tradition of donating 400 pies purchased from Mike's Pastry in the North End for Thanksgiving and delivering them to local organizations. In addition to personally donating and delivering the pies on Thanksgiving morning, Chara also encouraged fans to give back to those in need by donating $33 to benefit the Boston Children's Patient and Family Holiday Support Program, which helps families struggling with food insecurity this holiday season. Any fan who raises or donated more than $100 received an autographed Zdeno Chara 8x10 photo.
Chara has made several other visits to the community, including stops at the Perkins School for the Blind to play goal ball with the students, the Warren Prescott School in Charlestown to assist with a first-grade classroom, and the Italian Home for Children to deliver 120 winter hats and pairs of sneakers as holiday gifts. Most recently, he teamed up with New Balance and Soles4Souls to collect and donate shoes for children in need. In addition to personally donating $7,500 worth of New Balance products to underserved communities in Boston and Slovakia, he visited the New Balance headquarters store on March 6 to encourage Bruins fans to donate.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a vote of the 31 chapters of the PHWA at the conclusion of the regular season. David Backes (2018), Chara (2017), Jonas Gustavsson (2016) and Patrice Bergeron (2015) were previous Masterton nominees.