Once most men start inching towards the half-century mark, they begin doing things like buying white New Balances, complaining about their backs, courting briskets and planning for a second career as a Walmart greeter. Jaromir Jagr isn’t like most 50-year-olds. The former NHLer is set to take the ice for a 34th professional season this fall.
Jagr is the majority owner of his hometown team, Kladno, which he took over from his father in 2011
As he approaches his 50th birthday, Jagr says he's still playing pro hockey in the Czech Republic because the team may fold without him pic.twitter.com/bEUiqf6hOx
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) August 12, 2021
Jagr, who turns 50 in February, will skate for HC Kladno, a Czech Republic team that he owns. “Do you know why I’m still playing?” Jagr commented to The Hockey News. “I have a responsibility to the club, otherwise I wouldn’t fly here and I wouldn’t be making a fool of myself. But if I quit, the partners and sponsors would leave and the club may be done. I have no choice. People don’t understand it, but I don’t care. Only God will judge me. I expect much more from myself, and I also believe that I have it in me.”
A 13-time NHL All-Star, Jagr became majority owner of Kladno in 2011, but it wasn’t until his NHL career ended in 2018 that Jagr took the ice for his own squad. He admits that the transition wasn’t a breeze: “It’s not easy anymore, believe me. Because mostly during my career, I felt that if I wanted to score a goal, I would score. But suddenly, this doesn’t work…”
Though he no longer possesses the skills to lead the NHL in scoring, as he did five times, don’t expect to see Jagr walk away from his Czech team anytime soon. “As long as my father breathes, I take the club as my responsibility. He held (ownership) for 20 years. As a son, I would be embarrassed if I left,” said Jagr.
It appears those New Balances are going to be sitting on the shelf a while longer.