Jaromir Jagr can’t quit playing hockey, and we’re all better off for it.
After saying years ago he’d like to play beyond 50, Jagr can’t stay away from the ice. After returning to Rytiri Kladno, his hometown club that he owns, in 2018 after injuries ended his time with the Calgary Flames, the future Hall of Famer tried to get healthy but managed only 27 total games in a year as he helped the team get promoted from the Czech second division, which included a four-goal game.
An injury kept him out of the lineup early this season, Kladno’s first in the Czech Extraliga since 2014, but on Friday the 47-year-old (!) Jagr was back in action. Playing over 22 minutes, the fifth overall pick in the 1990 (!!) NHL Draft scored a goal during a 7-4 loss to HC Energie Karlovy Vary.
Kladno is winless through three games early in the season.
As for Jagr, the stories of his dedication to training are legendary, which makes the fact he’s playing so late in his 40s not entirely a surprise. Hockey is his life, as he told Sportnet’s Kristina Rutherford in 2015.
“The time between when I quit hockey and I die, I want it to be the shortest,” Jagr said. “It’s not going to be as exciting, that time. So as long as I can play, that’s what I’m doing. If I can play ’til I die, that’s what I will do. What else are you gonna do? Even if you retire, you will still have to go work out, and maybe harder than you do when you play hockey because you don’t want to look ugly and fat. At least I don’t want to.”
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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.
For most players who have gone to Europe to play hockey during the lockout, it’s almost like an escape from the pressure of playing in the NHL. For Tomas Plekanec, playing for HC Kladno in the Czech Extraliga it’s eerily similar to playing in Montreal.
Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press hears about how playing with a team with six other NHL stars amps up the pressure at home.
“When you don’t score for two games, it’s in the papers,” said Plekanec. “Every team basically we play against, if they beat us it’s like they won the Olympics or Stanley Cup almost.”
With teammates like team owner Jaromir Jagr, Tomas Kaberle, Jiri Tlusty, and Marek Zidlicky you can understand why Kladno fans would be so intently focused on how the team is doing.
With the team in fifth place right now, you can imagine the press is starting to get a bit grumpy. If things get bad enough maybe he’ll start to miss the Montreal microscope.
If you didn’t know it already, Jaromir Jagr owns a team in the Czech Extraliga, HC Kladno. Take one guess where he’ll be playing during the lockout.
Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports Jagr will be headed to the Czech Republic to play for his team and joining him there will be Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec. Both players will play there for however long the lockout lasts.
Jagr’s connection with Kladno goes back a long way as he played for them before coming to the NHL and during both lockouts in 1994-95 and 2004-05. Plekanec similarly played for Kladno before coming to the NHL, but he spent the 04-05 work stoppage in the AHL.
The connection between the two players is what’s always led to speculation that Jagr would play for Montreal during the last two offseasons. The two have worked great together in the past at the World Championships and Olympics.