Jaromir Jagr’s hockey journey will come to an end at some point, but right now the 48-year-old legend isn’t ready to retire.
Appearing as a guest of honor during the 70th anniversary celebration of KHL side Avangard Omsk, the team he played for during the 2004-05 NHL lockout and later from 2008-11, Jagr said he still wants to play.
“This year is very different from others,” he said via NHL.com. “We don’t know what is waiting for us tomorrow and it takes a lot of energy. This year I wasn’t practicing as hard as in previous years but I still want to play this season. I think it might happen in the playoffs. I want to be a player who helps his team to win. I’m not this player now but I want to help [Kladno] to return to the top division.
“I can’t say how long I want to keep playing. The game is getting more difficult. I think I kind of lost the drive when I wanted to prove that I’m still capable of getting better. I feel a lack of motivation to keep playing, though this year is definitely not the last in my career.”
— KHL (@khl_eng) November 23, 2020
Jagr has been playing back home in the Czech Republic for Kladno, the team he owns, since last playing in the NHL with the Flames in 2017. He helped Kladno earn promotion in 2018-19 to the Czech Extraliga, the country’s top division, with 13 points in 11 qualification games. Last season he recorded 15 goals and 29 points in 38 games, but they were relegated back down to the second division.
One reason why Jagr says he wants to keep playing? Kladno is scheduled to take part in an outdoor game in Dec. 2021.
“This year we had to play in the Winter Classic game, but it was [postponed, from Dec. 2020],” Jagr said. “So I can’t retire now. I promised that I’ll play that game.”