"The KHL is a good league and Lev is a quality team," said the hulking Slovak defenceman. "My motivation was to play in the best league in Europe, which it is. I felt that Lev showed the most interest in me, and they offered me the best conditions."
The Largest of Lions: Zdeno Chára agrees to play for Lev Praha
It has been speculated for days and now the two sides have come to an agreement: Zdeno Chára has agreed to join HC LEV Praha. The captain of the Boston Bruins arrived in Prague on Wednesday, which drew predictable media attention, and at Tipsport Arena that afternoon announced he would practice with the team Thursday morning. It is hoped all the administrative hurdles will be cleared in time for him to play Saturday at O2 Arena vs SKA St Petersburg.
Of the many players to come to Europe and the KHL during the NHL lockout, the 2011 Stanley Cup champion, Norris Trophy winner and four-time NHL all-star is among the highest profile. His 206cm (6´9") frame adds to his recongizability.
The Trenčín native has played at Tipsport Arena once before, way back in the 1995-96 season when he played one game for Sparta Praha. Of course, Lev´s next three home games are at O2 Arena, where he has played as a member of the Slovakian national team and twice with the Bruins against the Phoenix Coyotes in October 2010.
"It´s much more enjoyable to play in a city that you know," he added. "Close to home, where my family is, that played a role in my decision too."
On his new team, he said, "They had a great start to the year; I´ve been following the results. I was looking for a team that would be interested and closest to me. I had a few telephone conversations with Slovak players on HC Lev."