Jaromir Jagr is a legend, and I will fight whoever disagrees with me.
Jagr has achieved this status simply by being himself for the past 30 years or so, and pretty much everyone agrees with this. Republicans and Democrats all love him. Beatles fans love him, as do Stones fans. Heck, even those who still believe the Earth is flat also believe that Jagr is one of the greatest people on God's green, flat Earth.
The Czech native is playing his 23rd season in the NHL, and has recently moved into 2nd place on the all-time points list, within 1,000 points of Wayne Gretzky. He’s played in over 1,700 games in his career and registered over 1,900 points. That’s a lot of hockey and a lot of years, and as such he’s written quite the story for himself.
I look forward to the autobiography that will be released in 15 years or so. Jagr has been through a lot in his pro career, which started as a 16-year-old in his hometown of Kladno with the Czech league. Some of the stories that have already surfaced are crazy as it is (some verifiable, some not so much).
Today we’re going to look back at Jagr’s storied career—which isn’t over, as the guy has said he plans to play until he’s 50—and remind you of 15 things you may have forgotten about this beautiful man. Perhaps you never even knew them. Either way, sit back and enjoy reading about this legend:
14 Has fought once in his career
Jaromir Jagr will be remembered for A LOT of things when it’s all said and done, but fighting is not one of them. However, he has been in one (sort of) fight in his NHL career, and that was back in 2000 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Okay, I’ll be honest: it wasn’t much of a fight. In fact, neither player was even assessed a five minute fighting major on the play, so officially Jagr has never fought in the NHL.
13 He was drafted in 1990
A handful of journeyman NHLers retire every season, and these days it’s not uncommon to see a guy drafted in the latter part of the 1990s hanging up the skates. That’s why it’s sometimes a shock to recall that Jaromir Jagr was drafted way back in 1990, 5th overall, behind Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau, and Mike Ricci.
12 Won Stanley Cups in first two seasons
Jaromir Jagr didn’t have to wait long to taste success at the NHL level, as he won the Stanley Cup in his first two years in the league. Blessed with the privilege of playing mostly on a line with generational-talent Mario Lemieux, they were a two-man wrecking crew throughout much of the ‘90s. Jagr probably thought winning in the NHL was easy, but that impression has since been erased.
11 Spent three seasons in the KHL
Jaromir Jagr recently passed Mark Messier for sole possession of second place in the all-time points list. What’s shocking is that Jagr would have certainly been the only other player other than Wayne Gretzky with over 2,000 points had he not spent those three seasons in the KHL with Omsk Avangard from 2008-2011.
10 Had his own brand of peanut butter in the ‘90s
This one had completely slipped my mind, but it’s true: Jagr had his own brand of peanut butter in the 1990s. Even after doing a good 5-10 minutes of internet research (I’m fresh out of ideas here, folks), I’m not exactly sure how or why this product came to be, but all I know is I wish I had a jar.
9 Was unsuccessfully blackmailed by 18-year-old Czech model
Okay, you probably have not forgotten this yet because it was fairly recent and is pretty much unforgettable, but it's still worth mentioning, just because of how Jagr handled it. It was only a few years ago that a picture surfaced of Jagr in bed with an 18-year-old Czech model identified simply as “Catherine from Moravia.” This young lady had snapped the photo shortly after the two had engaged in the sex, and reportedly threatened to release it if Jagr didn’t pay her 50,000 Czech crowns.
8 Has scored most points after turning 40 (and other age-related records)
Jagr has been over 40 for a long time now, and he’s now the owner of pretty much every “after the age of 40” statistical category. Recently, he passed Gordie Howe as the player with the most points after turning 40 (269), which is quite impressive considering how Howe played until he was 52 (although some of that time was spent in the WHA).
7 Member of the Triple-Gold club
There are 27 members of the “Triple-Gold” club, but only two Czech Republic natives (the rest are Canadians, Russians, and Swedes). Jaromir Jagr is of course one of them, as he completed the feat in 2005 by taking Gold in the World Championships held in Vienna. To join the triple-gold club, a player must win the Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal, and a World Championship Gold Medal.
While Jagr’s career has seen him make more than enough money, he’s had his financial run-ins in the past. The IRS actually had to file a $3.27 million lien against Jagr back in 2003 for unpaid taxes from the 1999 tax year. This came just a few years after Jagr had settled a $350,000 claim in an unrelated tax snafu. The talented winger later would sue his former accountant, claiming that a form that was supposed to be filed wasn’t, costing him millions.
6 He got 11 points in one game in 1994/95
I admit this is misleading, as his 11 points game came in a game during the 1994-95 NHL lockout while he was playing in Europe. Jagr decided to try his trade out in a few different situations, and that included two one-game stints for two different teams: Bolzano HC of Italy’s best hockey league (Jagr finished the game pointless), and the Schalker Sharks of a German pro league (non-elite).
5 Jagr had 525 points when Aaron Ekblad was born
It’s crazy to think how much older Jagr is than pretty much everybody else in the league, and one of the more fun ways to put that into perspective is to tally up how many NHL points Jagr had when some of his teammates were born. Let’s use Aaron Ekblad as an example, as he is one of the younger stars in Florida.
4 Lost the 2000 Hart Trophy to Pronger by one vote
There’s no question that Jagr has quite an impressive collection of hardware he’s gathered over the years. Most notably he’s won five Art Ross Trophies (as the league’s leading scorer—coming two points shy of the honor for a sixth time in 2005-06), but just the one Hart Trophy (as league MVP), captured in 1999.
3 Has never been married
This is actually one of the reasons I respect Jagr so much. It’s not that I would disrespect the marriage part of the equation; far from it. It’s more to the fact that I’ve seen and heard of way too many NHL players over the years exhibiting greasy behavior in public while on the road and their wives/families are sitting at home.
2 Has his own set of devoted traveling fans
Jagr’s mullet has become a pretty major part of his look, even if it no longer has the spring it had back in the ‘90s. It was this mullet that can be credited with the inception of the “Traveling Jagrs,” a group of 18 fans from Calgary who wear mullet wigs, drape themselves in a Jagr jersey from one of his various NHL teams from the past, and attend Jagr games in rinks across the league every season.
1 Wears 68 because of Prague Spring
One of the most common things for young stars to do these days is to match their jersey number to their birth year. Jagr was born in 1972, so that’s obviously not why he chose to wear 68. He went with 68 because 1968 was the year of Prague Spring, a period of liberalization in then-Czechoslovakia. It was the reformists' attempt at granting more freedoms for the people of Czechoslovakia.
Jagr has many personal connections to that eight-month period before his birth. His grandfather actually died while in prison during Prague Spring. Jagr’s grandfather was jailed for opposing the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia and not standing down from his farm. Jagr is always quick to point out that he doesn’t have a general disdain for Russians because of this though, but rather their communist policies that worked so hard to oppress his people.
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