Jaromir is one of the most amazing hockey players in the world. At the age of 49, he’s still going strong, many believing he’s playing the game because he absolutely loves it. That said, recent comments from the former NHL star suggest there may be more going on than a player simply playing out of a pure passion for the sport.
Jagr recently told Michael Langr of NHL.com that he does not plan to retire after completing his 33rd professional hockey season Thursday. At 49, no one would blame him if he hung up the skates, but he suggests it’s not that simple. Because he’s got an interest in the success of the league he’s playing in and he’s an owner of the team he’s playing on (Rytiri Kladno), he owes it to everyone involved to keep going next season. He said, “The main reason I am still playing is my responsibility to the club. If I did not have any, I would not be flying around on the ice here. Because I am embarrassing myself there, I can say.”
Jagr scored 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 19 regular-season games with Kladno this season and 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 16 playoff games. I would hardly call that an embarrassment.
He talked about what he needs to do to stay effective but noted, “I expect much more from myself and I don’t have it.” He added, “But I am aware that when I leave, many (business) partners will leave the team too. That’s why I have no choice.”
Specifically, he’s made a commitment to be part of a series of outdoor games at Spindleruv mlyn in the Czech Republic which is sold out. He notes that he can’t quit because of his connection to that event. Those games were originally scheduled in December 2020 but postponed to December 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As for ever returning to the NHL, that’s not going to happen but it was a storied career. He won the Stanley Cup twice with the Penguins (1991, 1992) and the Hart Trophy voted as NHL MVP in 1998-99. He led the NHL in scoring five times (1994-95, 1997-2001) and was named an NHL First Team All-Star seven times (1994-96, 1997-2001, 2005-06).
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