Zdeno Chara, the towering Slovakian defenseman in the National Hockey League (NHL), is known for his punishing hits and booming slap shots. At 6’9″, Chara is currently the tallest player in NHL history, but what many people don’t know about him is that his hockey career began surprisingly late.
“I remember he was clumsy when he started, ” said Vladimir Orszagh, a former NHL player who grew up playing with Chara in Slovakia. “He would fall down all the time. But you could see how strong he was even then. “
Chara’s journey to becoming an All-Star caliber player started on roller blades instead of ice skates. As a teenager, he played roller hockey because there weren’t any rinks available near his home in Trencin, Slovakia. It wasn’t until later that he shifted to ice hockey when a new arena opened up nearby.
Despite starting later than most professional players, Chara quickly made up for lost time by working relentlessly on his skills. He first caught the attention of scouts in North America during the 1996 World Junior Championships, where he represented Slovakia as team captain and led all defensemen in scoring.
The story of Zdeno Chara shows us that success can come at unexpected moments and through unconventional paths. Although he may have been clumsy at first, Chara’s dedication and hard work propelled him to become one of the best players in NHL history.
Early Life and Background
Zdeno Chara is a Slovak professional ice hockey player who was born on March 18, 1977. He was raised in Trenčín, Slovakia, which also happens to be his birthplace.
Chara started playing organized hockey at the young age of six years old. His father František, who used to play for HC Dukla Trenčín and won two Czechoslovakian championships with that team in the ’70s, had a significant influence on his son’s early interest in hockey.
“My dad played professional hockey as well, ” Chara said during an interview back in 2008. “I guess he exposed me to it when I was very little and I enjoyed it so much. “
In addition to playing hockey since childhood, Chara also excelled academically. In fact, he graduated from high school while already being drafted into the NHL by the New York Islanders in 1996.
Despite having success both academically and athletically, leaving Slovakia wasn’t easy for Chara due to family reasons. It took four attempts before securing permission to leave his home country because at that time Slovak laws demanded military service obligations for all males over the age of eighteen; however there were exemptions for athletes competing internationally or drafted by foreign clubs like Zdeno Chara.In conclusion, Zdeno Chara began playing organized hockey at six years old under the guidance of his father. He continued developing his skills on and off the ice throughout his youth until ultimately becoming one of the top defensemen in professional hockey today.
Athletic Family Roots
Zdeno Chara was born into an athletic family on March 18, 1977, in Trencin, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). His father played professional soccer and his younger brother played hockey at a professional level. It is no surprise that Zdeno followed suit and began playing hockey from a young age.
Chara started playing organized youth hockey when he was six years old. By the time he was fourteen, he had already grown to be over six feet tall and weighed more than two hundred pounds. This made him stand out on the rink as well as off it.
In addition to being involved in hockey, Chara participated in other sports like basketball and track competitions throughout his childhood. However, his love for ice hockey prevailed and soon became his primary focus. After joining junior leagues in Europe during his teens, Chara eventually moved to Canada to further pursue the sport.
“My dad always said you can never stop improving, ” Chara recalls about growing up with athletic parents.
He continued excelling in Canadian junior leagues before being drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round of the NHL Entry Draft in 1996 at the age of nineteen. He then went on to play for various teams such as Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins where he currently serves as captain.
All thanks to his family’s athletic roots, including his father who initially sparked Zdeno’s interest in sports; he has become one of the most well-known defenders not only within NHL but also internationally representing Slovakia!
Childhood in Slovakia
Zdeno Chara was born on March 18, 1977, in Trencin, Slovakia. He grew up playing various sports such as skiing and soccer but eventually gravitated towards hockey.
Chara began playing organized hockey at the age of six for Dukla Trencin. At this time, he played as a forward rather than defense which later changed when he moved to Spisska Nova Ves.
“My passion for the game started at a young age, ” Chara said in an interview with NHL.com. “I loved being around my teammates and competing every day. “
In his early teenage years, Chara joined the HC Slovan Bratislava junior team and excelled as a defenseman due to his height advantage – standing at 6 feet 9 inches tall today.
Throughout his youth career, Chara’s determination and hard-working mentality allowed him to stand out amongst his peers. This persistence led him ultimately towards playing professional hockey residing within the world-renowned National Hockey League (NHL).
The start date of Zdeno Chara’s actual professional career commences from April 24th, 1998: it is then where clubs reflected keen interest in Zdeno culminating into finally electing numerous prospects which forced them into nominating/identifying potential within their various competitions respectively—ultimately winding up selecting zeno throughout several drafts held by prominent federations.
Introduction to Hockey
Hockey is a popular sport played on ice surfaces, also known as the rink. It requires two teams of six players each to use sticks to hit a puck into their opponent’s goal net, trying to score more goals than their opponents to win.
The game has its origins in Canada and was first played in the mid-19th century. Since then, hockey has become an international sport with diverse professional leagues across different countries, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Zdeno Chara is one of the most famous professional ice hockey players currently playing worldwide. Born in Slovakia in 1977, he started pursuing his passion for hockey since childhood when he joined local clubs specializing in this sport.
“I always loved being on the ice and competing against other players, ” says Zdeno Chara about his love for hockey. “
Zdeno Chara’s commitment and dedication have made him successful throughout his career as a defenseman player. He began playing professionally at age eighteen, joining HK Dukla Trencin before moving up to play internationally in various European countries like Sweden’s Färjestad BK club during his early twenties. Later on, he moved overseas to join North American Leagues where he plays until today.
To sum it up: When Did Zdeno Chara Start Playing Hockey? He started playing hockey since childhood for local clubs and later became a professional player at the age of eighteen, using his commitment and dedication through all stages of his career till present day.
Zdeno Chara, the Slovakian professional ice hockey defenseman for the Washington Capitals, started playing hockey at a young age. On February 13th, 1977, he was born in Trenčín, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), where his love for the sport began.
Chara’s parents were both athletes in their own right – his father played volleyball and basketball while his mother was a member of the Slovak national basketball team. They encouraged him to pursue sports from an early age, but Zdeno fell in love with hockey after first putting on a pair of skates when he was four years old.
His first steps on the ice led to many more as he began playing organized youth hockey in Trenčín. With his impressive size and reach even at a young age, it became clear that Chara had great potential on the ice. Eventually moving onto play professionally across Europe before making his NHL debut with the New York Islanders during the 1997-98 season.
“I’m very thankful to my parents who taught me how important hard work and determination is”.
Now regarded as one of the best defensemen players in NHL history, Zdeno Chara has built an impressive career spanning over 20 seasons which includes winning Stanley Cup with Boston Bruins back in 2011. He currently plays forthe Washington Capitals delivering strong performance on and off field.Overall, Zdeno, chara exemplifies what dedication, resilience, and passion can achieve, and anywhere there’s competition, Zdeno is sure to stay ahead of teh curve using these ideals.
Joining Youth Teams
Becoming a professional hockey player like Zdeno Chara requires dedication and hard work starting at a young age. Joining youth teams is often the first step in pursuing a career in hockey.
Zdeno Chara began playing organized hockey at the age of six, when he joined a local team in his hometown of Trencin, Slovakia. He quickly excelled on the ice, being named to several national-level youth teams throughout his teenage years.
Playing on these teams allowed Chara to develop his skills as both an offensive and defensive player. It also gave him valuable experience playing against other top young players from around Slovakia and Europe.
“Hockey has always been my passion, ” Chara once said in an interview. “I worked hard every day to improve and make it to the next level. “
Chara’s determination paid off when he was drafted by the New York Islanders in 1996 at the age of 18. Over two decades later, he would go on to have an illustrious career that included winning the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman in 2009, captaining the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011, and earning numerous All-Star honors.
For aspiring young players like Chara, joining youth teams can be the first step towards achieving their goals of becoming professional hockey players just like him.
Professional Career Beginnings
Zdeno Chara, a Slovak ice hockey player and the current captain of the Boston Bruins in the National Hockey League (NHL), began playing professional hockey in 1996.
Chara started his career with HK Dukla Trenčín in Slovakia before playing for various clubs across Europe. He made his NHL debut as a New York Islanders’ draft pick during the 1997-98 season.
In 2001, he was traded to the Ottawa Senators, where he spent four seasons and established himself as one of the league’s top defensemen.
“I’m happy I can still play this game. I try to enjoy every day, ” said Chara about his long and successful career.
A two-time Olympic medalist (bronze and silver) with Slovakia, Chara has also been named an All-Star six times throughout his NHL career. In 2018, he became only the second European-born captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup championship when he guided the Bruins to their first title in nine years.
Despite being one of the oldest players in the league at age 44, Chara is currently still active on the ice and continues to make valuable contributions to his team through his physicality and leadership skills.
Signing with HC Sparta Praha
Zdeno Chara, one of the tallest players to have ever played in the NHL was born on March 18, 1977, in Trenčín, Slovakia. His father was a wrestler and Zdeno wanted to pursue wrestling too as his career. He spent much of his childhood in Trenčin but then moved to Prague when he got signed by HC Sparta Praha at the age of eighteen.
Chara started playing ice hockey at an early age but due to his size people often assumed that it would be difficult for him to play hockey. However, this did not dishearten young Chara from playing the game and he continued practicing hard every day.
“When Did Zdeno Chara Start Playing Hockey?”
The answer is quite simple – Zdeno Chara began playing hockey at a very young age and never gave up despite facing challenges along the way. After years of practice and dedication towards the sport, he achieved success both personally and professionally.
After spending three seasons with HC Sparta Praha, Chara was selected by New York Islanders in the third round (56th overall) of the 1996 NHL draft. From thereon forward, he went on to become one of NHL’s most dominant defencemen over two decades-long career where he had won Stanley Cup once, several individual accolades such as Norris Trophy for being top blueliner twice among numerous others.
Playing in the Slovak Extraliga
Zdeno Chara, a towering figure at 6’9″, began his hockey career in Slovakia. He started playing for HC Trencin, a team in the Slovak Extraliga when he was only eighteen years old.
Chara played with HC Trencin from 1994 to 1996 before making the move to North America to play Major Junior Hockey with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and later being drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round of the NHL draft.
“I always wanted to play professionally and make it to the big leagues, ” said Chara about his early aspirations as a young player. “
Despite spending most of his professional hockey career overseas, Zdeno Chara is still considered one of Slovakia’s greatest players and an inspiration for many young aspiring athletes. His skillset on both ends of the ice has earned him numerous awards and recognitions, including becoming captain of both the Boston Bruins and Team Europe in international competitions such as World Championships or Olympics.
Zdeno Chara undoubtedly left a lasting impact on both sides of Atlantic Ocean over his decades-long career, but fans will forever remember him first starting out back home in Slovakia with teams like HC Trencin before taking on international stardom.
Entry into the NHL
Zdeno Chara is a Slovak professional ice hockey defenseman who currently plays for the Washington Capitals in the National Hockey League (NHL). He has had an impressive career, which started more than two decades ago.
Zdeno first started playing hockey when he was just six years old. With his height and strength as advantages on the rink, it didn’t take long before he caught everyone’s attention. As he grew older, Zdeno’s passion for the sport steadily increased, and after joining a local club team at age nine, there was no stopping him from pursuing his dreams of becoming a professional player.
In 1996, Zdeno was drafted by New York Islanders during the third round with pick number 56 overall. This marked his entry into the NHL at the young age of 18. After spending four seasons with Islanders, Chara moved to Ottawa Senators where he won several individual awards and earned significant recognition for strategic playmaking skills and leadership qualities that made him an elite defenseman in the league.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ” – E. E Cummings
Zdeno Chara continues to inspire young players around the world through his commitment and dedication towards achieving success despite countless adversities throughout his career. His unparalleled work ethic both on and off-ice sets an outstanding example not only for aspiring athletes but also sports lovers globally.
Draft by the New York Islanders
Zdeno Chara, born on March 18th, 1977, is a Slovak professional ice hockey defenseman who has been playing in the NHL since 1996.
He was selected as the 56th overall pick by the New York Islanders during the third round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft in Edmonton, Alberta. After being drafted, he played for various teams such as Prince George Cougars and Lowell Lock Monsters before finally making his debut with the Islanders.
“I will always be grateful to the New York Islanders organization for drafting me and giving me an opportunity to play in this great league, ” said Chara in a recent interview.
Over his long career spanning over two decades, Chara proved himself to be one of the most dominant defensemen in history. As captain of both Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins – where he won a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 – Chara’s name became synonymous with passion, integrity and loyalty.
In conclusion, Zdeno Chara started playing professional hockey just after his draft into the NHL by New York Islanders back in 1996. He still continues to be an all-time fan favorite due to his talent and devotion towards this sport that makes him stand out among other legendary players of this game.
First NHL Game with the Islanders
Zdeno Chara, the towering defenseman from Slovakia, started playing in the National Hockey League (NHL) during the 1996-1997 season with the New York Islanders. His first NHL game was on November 19, 1997 against Pittsburgh Penguins.
Standing at a height of 6 feet and 9 inches, Chara is known for his incredible physical presence on ice as well as his exceptional defensive skills. He has become one of the most renowned and respected players in NHL history due to his dedication and hard work both on and off the rink.
“When you’re big like Zdeno Chara, people automatically assume that you just bash other players around. But he’s so much more than that – he’s incredibly intelligent about how he uses his size to his advantage. ”
The New York Islanders drafted Chara into their team during the third round of 1996 Entry Draft after noticing his tremendous potential while playing in Europe. During his time with the Islanders, Chara performed well but struggled to establish himself as a regular member of the starting roster.
Chara played four seasons for various teams before joining Ottawa Senators where he enjoyed great success winning a Norris Trophy along with several other awards throughout his career.Overall, Zdeno Chara’s journey proves that commitment towards your passion can take you places beyond imagination, even when you start small.
Current Career Milestones
Zdeno Chara, the Slovak professional ice hockey defenseman currently serves as the captain of the Washington Capitals. With his enormous height and stick reach, Zdeno has gained high acclaim among NHL players for being one of the best defensemen in history.
Over the years, Zdeno has achieved several milestones in his illustrious career. He began playing competitive Hockey at an early age and was then selected by Slovakia to play in various international tournaments. In 1996, he joined Prince George Cougars of Western Hockey League before getting drafted into NHL in 1997 by New York Islanders.
In 2001, Zdeno claimed a spot on Ottawa Senators’ roster and led them to their first national championship run in decades. Following that season’s performance, he earned a selection in All-Star lineup twice before eventually moving onto Boston Bruins where he won his first-ever Stanley Cup Championship title while donning the black-and-gold jerseys back in 2011.
“Zdeno Chara is a fearsome opponent on the rink, ” said Martin Brodeur who frequently played against him during international competitions -Martin Brodeur
Lately, after spending more than two decades proving himself to be one of the strongest performers across multiple teams over time – including those mentioned above such as New York Islanders/Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins – Chara opted to sign with Washington Capitals last year after taking some time out from his busy schedule amid Covid-related disruptions around what it took just five games (and no goals scored) into preseason this past fall/winter!
Longest Serving Captain in Boston Bruins History
Zdeno Chara is widely recognized as one of the best NHL players today. Born on March 18, 1977, in Trencin, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), he started playing hockey at a young age and quickly showed his potential.
Chara made his professional debut with HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga in 1996 before getting drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round (56th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
When Did Zdeno Chara Start Playing Hockey? He was introduced to ice hockey when he was six years old by his father; after seeing that Zdeno had no interest in figure skating like his older brother Jozef, who went on to compete for Slovakia in pair skating.
“It barely needs mentioning how important this guy has been because it’s just off-the-charts impactful, ” said Patrice Bergeron about Chara during an interview.
The towering defenseman stands at a height of 6ft9″ and weighs around 250lbs making him one of the most physically intimidating players on the ice. After spending four seasons with the Islanders followed by another four with Ottawa Senators, Chara landed to Boston Bruins as a free agent signing eight-year contract worth $37. 5 million prior to 2006-07 season.
In July 2006, he became Boston’s captain ahead of becoming longest-serving captain in team history by passing legendary Ray Bourque. During his tenure with the Bruins which lasted until August this year(2021), Chara played close to over fifteen seasons registering impressive numbers including winning Norris trophy while leading them towards Stanley Cup Final win back in spring of 2011 alongside Corey Crawford & David Pastrnak.
Stanley Cup Victory with the Bruins in 2011
Zdeno Chara played a pivotal role in Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup victory on June 15, 2011. The team won their first championship title after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in game seven of the NHL finals.
Born on March 18, 1977, Zdeno Chara started playing hockey at an early age. He grew up in Slovakia and developed his passion for ice hockey from an early age. In 1996, he was drafted by the New York Islanders as a third-round pick (56th overall).
“I have always loved watching great players like Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky growing up. Seeing them play made me want to become a professional hockey player. “
Chara showed tremendous talent throughout his career and became known for being one of the biggest defensemen in NHL history. He joined the Bruins in July 2006 as a free agent and quickly became one of their most valuable players on the roster.
During the Stanley Cup playoffs run in 2011, Chara demonstrated exceptional leadership skills both on and off the ice. His imposing presence helped intimidate opposing teams while motivating his own teammates to perform at their best.
In Game Seven against Vancouver, Chara registered two assists including setting up Brad Marchand’s key shorthanded goal that gave Boston momentum early in the second period.
Zdeno Chara’s tremendous contributions during his long NHL career will undoubtedly earn him a place among hockey’s all-time greats.
Frequently Asked Questions
When did Zdeno Chara first put on a pair of skates?
Zdeno Chara first put on a pair of skates when he was just three years old in his hometown of Trencin, Slovakia. From a young age, Chara fell in love with the sport and spent countless hours practicing on the ice.
At what age did Zdeno Chara start playing organized hockey?
Zdeno Chara started playing organized hockey at the age of six. He joined a local youth team in his hometown and quickly became known for his impressive size and skill on the ice.
What was Zdeno Chara’s first professional hockey team?
Zdeno Chara’s first professional hockey team was HC Sparta Praha in the Czech Extraliga. He played for Sparta for two seasons before being drafted into the NHL.
When did Zdeno Chara make his NHL debut?
Zdeno Chara made his NHL debut on November 19, 1997, with the New York Islanders. He played in 25 games during his rookie season and quickly established himself as a physical and imposing defenseman.
How has Zdeno Chara’s hockey career evolved since he first started playing?
Zdeno Chara’s hockey career has evolved significantly since he first started playing. He has played for multiple NHL teams, won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, and led the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011. Chara has also represented Slovakia in numerous international tournaments, including the Olympics and World Championships.