Here’s an interesting subplot from a New York Times piece about Jaromir Jagr’s return to Kladno HC, the Czech Extraliga team he began his professional hockey career with (and now owns.)
On Wednesday, Kladno played Slavia in a game featuring Jagr, Tomas Plekanec, Jiri Tlusty, Marek Zidlicky, Roman Cervenka and Vladimir Sobotka. With so much NHL star power involved, the contest was moved to the O2 Arena in Prague so that nearly 16,000 fans could attend.
According to the Times, free bus rides were provided to shuttle supporters from Kladno to Prague.
But the game almost didn’t get played due to sticky rules involving IIHF transfer cards — and that’s when the NHL lent a helping hand.
It took an act of cooperation from the N.H.L. to make the game happen. The six N.H.L. players were nearly unable to play because they were waiting for their international transfer cards to be processed. The procedure requires obtaining signatures from the incoming and outgoing national hockey federations, which assure that the player is not in violation of any contractual obligations.
Jagr said come Wednesday morning the players did not know if they would be able to play.
“We were ready to cancel this game,” he said.
To expedite the process, Jagr had made a late phone call Tuesday to his former Rangers teammate Brendan Shanahan, who is now an N.H.L. vice president.
“I have to say thanks to Brendan Shanahan who helped me a lot,” Jagr said. “Shanahan did a great job and put Gary Bettman and Bill Daly on the phone, and eventually we were able to play.”
Awfully nice to see a moment of cooperation in the middle of labor ugliness, no?
/hums theme song to Family Ties
//sha la la laaaaa