BOSTON - Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is the Boston Bruins 2017 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 has epitomized sportsmanship and leadership during the 2017 campaign. On the ice, the native of Trencin, Slovakia has been a staple of the Bruins defense corps since arriving to Boston and being named captain in 2006. Since his first season with the Bruins, Chara leads the team in games played (813), plus/minus (+170), penalty minutes (872), hits (1,707), blocked shots (1,153), power play goals (67), power play points (163), time on ice per game (25:14), shorthanded time on ice (2,722:44) and shifts per game (28.5). At 40-years-old, Chara is the fourth oldest active player in the NHL behind Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr, Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cullen. He is also the second longest tenured captain in the league behind Shane Doan (Coyotes captain since 2003).
In his 19-year NHL career, Chara has appeared in 1,343 games (seventh among active NHL players), compiling 186 goals and 413 assists for 599 points with 1,773 penalty minutes. He has also skated in 141 career postseason games, tallying 15 goals and 43 assists for 58 points with 186 penalty minutes.
Off the ice, the 6-foot-9, 230-pound defenseman has been a fixture in the Boston community throughout his career. Chara annually takes part in the Bruins' Cuts for Cause to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, as well as the Bruins Holiday Toy Delivery to local children's hospitals. For the second straight year, Chara teamed with Cradles to Crayons, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and Department of Children and Families throughout the month of February to present the annual "PJ Drive" presented by Freihofer's and Roche Brothers to benefit Massachusetts' underprivileged youth. The PJ Drive provides new, unused pajamas to children in need across Massachusetts. Over 75,000 Massachusetts children have received PJ's through the Bruins PJ drive over the past nine years.
Chara also spearheaded a California surprise this season for one young Bruins fan, Frank Pina III, who was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The six-year-old has had three surgeries for his condition, but is now cleared by doctors and heart healthy. While the team was in California, Chara and goaltender Tuukka Rask surprised them at the team hotel, brought them to practice to meet the rest of the team, and then brought him and his parents to the team's game against the Anaheim Ducks.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a vote of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the conclusion of the regular season.