As soon as the opening puck was dropped in the New York Islanders‘ game against the San Jose Sharks game on Thursday night, Zdeno Chára made history.

Chára was on the ice to start the game for the Islanders. With that, he set an NHL record for most games played by a defenseman, with 1,652. He broke the record previously held by Hockey Hall of Famer, Chris Chelios.

Once the game got going, Chára did something he’s done a lot of over 1,652 games — he got into a fight.

Chára earned congratulations throughout the hockey world on Thursday for his record-setting milestone.


Chára is likely best known for his time with the Boston Bruins. He played more than half of his career games for the Bruins and was the captain of Boston’s Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011. The Bruins congratulated their former star.


And while Chára’s best days were in Boston, it’s fitting that he was a member of the Islanders when breaking the record. New York was the team that drafted Chára and the team he made his NHL debut with.

It was also a fitting opponent and while it was a road game, it was also a near-ideal location. San Jose was the longtime home of Patrick Marleau, who holds the NHL record for most games played, regardless of position. Marleau was among those to congratulate Chára, though it wasn’t on Twitter. Marleau recorded a message, which was played at the SAP Center as the San Jose crowd acknowledged Chára’s record.

Chelios also could not be in San Jose but congratulated Chára during his broadcast on ESPN.

Chára, who made his NHL debut in 1997. When you play in that many games over four different decades, you’re naturally going to make an impression on a lot of people in the game. Clearly, that’s been the case for Chára.

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.