The National Hockey League will be without two rugged, aging defenceman this season and onward, as both Keith Yandle and Zdeno Chara have announced their respective retirements from the game.
It was late on Monday night that Yandle – a veteran of 17 seasons – made his intentions known. The league’s current Iron-man record holder, who played in 989 consecutive games goes out on top. Having set the record last year, Yandle will now only be able to watch as Phil Kessel – the newest member of the Vegas Golden Knights (982-straight games played) attempts to one-up the veteran defenceman.
Yandle, 36, played within the league since making his debut in the 2006-07 season with the then Phoenix Coyotes. He spent nine years with the organization before moving to New York, where he suited up in 103 games for the Rangers. Yandle then moved to Florida, where he spent five years, before finishing off his career in Philadelphia with the Flyers last season.
He amassed 103 goals and 619 points in 1,109 career regular season games played. In the playoffs, he had six goals and 36 points in 58 contests.
Chara, on the other hand, has been in the league for a whopping 24 seasons. The 45-year-old signed a one-day contract to return to the Boston Bruins where he announced his retirement on Tuesday.
“After 25 seasons of professional hockey 1,680 NHL regular season games, 200 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and hundreds of international games I am proud to announce my decision to retire from the National Hockey League,” Chara posted on Instagram.
“In doing so, I am honored to return to TD Garden today to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and officially finish my career with the team that has meant so much to me and my family. There are so many people that have helped contribute to my success, including all of you, and I look forward to properly thanking everyone this afternoon.”
In his final season – last year with the New York Islanders – Chara found the twine two times and assisted on 12 other tallies over his 72 games in the lineup. For his career, the hulking defenceman scored 209 times and recorded 680 points over 1,680 regular season games. In 200 career postseason matchups, Chara had 18 goals and 70 points.
Beginning his career in New York as a third round pick of the Islanders at the 1996 NHL Draft, Chara went on to play four years on the Island before moving to Ottawa by way of trade. He stayed with the Senators until signing in Boston back in 2006. With the Bruins Chara played 14 years and won the Stanley Cup in 2011. The 6-foot-9 punisher won the league’s Norris Trophy in 2009 and was voted in as an NHL All-Star six times. He was also a regular victor at the ‘hardest shot competition’ at the NHL’s annual All-Star Skills Competition.