There’s only been one NHLer to play into his 50s: Gordie Howe, who retired following the 1979-80 season at the age of 51.
But if Jaromir Jagr has his way, he’ll eventually join Howe in the quinquagenarian group.
“I love the game. What I want to tell you is I don’t know if it’s going to be the last year in the NHL. If I stay healthy, it’s not going to be my last year in hockey. I want to play until 50, maybe more. But I want to play in the NHL if I’m good enough. I don’t want to just be here just to be here.
“But the longer you play in the NHL, the better challenge you get for yourself. You’re facing the best players in the world. So, if I’m good enough to play in this league, I want to do it. If I’m not, I’m going to play somewhere else. But you have to stay healthy and you have to stay motivated and you have to love the game. So, that’s what I do. That’s what I love.”
Since returning to the NHL in 2011 following a three-year KHL stint, Jagr has reinvented himself and his passion for hockey. He speaks endlessly about how much he enjoys playing the game and his infamous workout regime became the stuff of legend in 2013 when, at the age of 41, he was fit enough to play 101 games in a single season (34 in Czech league during lockout, 45 regular season games with Dallas and Boston, then 22 Stanley Cup playoff games with the B’s.)
The future Hall of Famer is showing no signs of slowing down. He led the Devils in scoring last year, with 67 points, and appeared in all 82 games while averaging over 19 minutes a night. Essentially, he was the team’s most valuable player.