Jaromir Jagr announced his departure from the Calgary Flames and the NHL to return to the Czech Republic and play for the HC Kladno this week. It’s not the departure from the NHL he was hoping for, nor the fans who have watched him since 1990. 28 years, 24 seasons, 22 individual awards, 21 NHL records, nine NHL teams, three conference championships, two Stanley Cups and one amazing story.
Jaromir Jagr’s departure
Jagr spent the off-season unsigned and unsure of his future. In October he signed a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames, fulfilling his hopes of playing for a Canadian team before his retirement. Unfortunately, it didn’t go how either party was hoping. Jagr was plagued with a nagging injury through most of his time with the Flames. In December, he was placed on injured reserve, throughout January his agent feverishly looked for a team that would be willing to trade for him. Nothing materialized and incredibly he was placed on waivers for the first time in his career. He cleared waivers and went home to play for HC Kladno.
Breaking into the league in 1990 after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had a unique style on and off the ice. He held his stick in a unique manner, slightly higher than most. This made it harder for goalies to read where the puck was headed. After the puck hit the twine, he celebrated with a salute. P.K. Subban paid tribute to this in the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, the last Jagr attended to date. Jagr has always had a sense of humour, showing this in the 2017 off-season. After his departure from the Florida Panthers, with no prospects in sight, he took to Twitter to make light of the situation.
FA 1994- all GMs called , FA 2017- 0 calls?? pic.twitter.com/7uLJm95CAB
— Jaromir Jagr (@68Jagr) June 29, 2017
He is arguably the most talented European born player of all-time and most definitely of his generation. Having a unique look at the game, doing it because he loves it, as cliche as that sounds. Having a reputation of trust and talent, everything he did was to better his game and helping teammates along the way. During his time in Dallas, the owners trusted him so much that he had his own key to the stadium and would show up at 4:00 am on practice and game days to start his workouts and morning skates, as well as having coffee ready when the rest of the team and staff showed up. Another part of his legacy you wouldn’t really think about right off the ball was his peanut butter. Its a shame to see him go, especially in the manner he went.
— Stanley Jones (@thestanleyjones) February 2, 2018
Jagr leaves the NHL, sitting third in career goals, and second in career points. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider he lost over two full seasons, to three NHL lockouts, and also spent three years playing in the KHL.
VANCOUVER, BC – OCTOBER 14: Calgary Flames Right Wing Jaromir Jagr (68) watches the play during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on October 14, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Calgary won 5-2. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)