Though the Bruins were eliminated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last Wednesday, Chara has agreed to play for the Slovakian team in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, which start this Friday, May 4th.
The Trenčín, Slovakia native will play for his home country despite a bit of anxiety on behalf of the Bruins. In an interview with SITA, a Slovakian news agency, Chara mentioned that the Bruins were tentative about letting him play in the championships because of the broken nose he played with through their playoff series with the Washington Capitals. Despite the injury, the Bruins' captain was insistent he play for his home country in the tournament:
"It was an easy decision for me. In my heart I feel I made the right decision."
Chara has played for Slovakia nine times in international tournament play (including two Olympics) since 1999. His international experience is needed for the team this go-around. Slovakia needs to be ranked in the top nine of all teams in the world to receive an automatic bid to the 2014 Winter Olympics, and their results in the World Championships will have a heavy bearing on that ranking.
The tournament opens with a tough challenge for Chara and Team Slovakia: they begin the tournament with a game against Canada, the 24 time gold medalists in the event.