Calgary, Jan 29 (CTK) – Jaromir Jagr, 45, the Czech ice-hockey forward and the second most productive player in the history of the NHL, is leaving the NHL’s Calgary Flames for the Czech First League team Rytiri Kladno, which he owns, both teams confirmed on Monday.
“Jaromir Jagr is ready to return to the Czech Republic and he wants to help Rytiri Kladno to rejoin the [Czech top] Extra League competition. For him to be able to join the team, we have to settle all necessary documents by January 31, the deadline for ice hockey transfers in the Czech Republic,” Rytiri Kladno’s spokesman Vit Heral said in a press release.
Calgary Flames put Jagr, who was tormented by injuries this season, on the list of available players for NHL teams to choose from. As none did so, the path for Jagr’s return to Europe opened.
Commenting on his departure on Calgary Flames’ website, Jagr thanked the team and its general manager Brad Treliving for having given him the chance of playing for the team in the NHL this season.
He said, unfortunately, the situation did not develop as expected due to a number of circumstances, but he is very grateful to the Flames, the fans and the whole city of Calgary of having welcomed him. Now he is looking forward to continuing his career with Rytiri Kladno, he added.
Treliving appreciated Jagr’s contribution to the team though he could play only 22 games in the season, gaining seven points for one goal and six assists.
Neither Calgary nor Rytiri Kladno commented on whether Jagr will have a chance of returning to the NHL during the season, which his still valid contract with Calgary enables.
Rytiri Kladno will release information about Jagr’s nearest participation in its games in the hours or days to come, Heral said.
For Jagr to be able to play for Kladno in the contest for the advancement to the Extra League, he has to play at least 15 games with the team before. To meet the requirement, he has to appear in the Benatky nad Jizerou vs Kladno game on Saturday, February 3, at the latest. Before, Kladno plays against Karlovy Vary at home on Wednesday.
A series of injuries and now the departure from the NHL prevented Jagr from catching up, in this season, with legendary Gordie Howe’s record number of NHL games played. Jagr has played a total of 1733 games in the NHL, which means his third position behind Mark Messier (1756) and Howe (1767).
Jagr was born in Kladno, central Bohemia, on February 15, 1972.
He played for Poldi Kladno (1988-90), Pittsburgh Penguins (1990-2001; during a NHL lockout for HC Bolzano, Poldi Kladno and Schalker Haie), Washington Capitals (2001-04), New York Rangers (2004-08; during a NHL lockout for Rabat Kladno and Avangard Omsk), Avangard Omsk (2008-11), Philadelphia Flyers (2011-12), Dallas Stars (2012-13; during a NHL lockout for Rytiri Kladno), Boston Bruins (2013), New Jersey Devils (2013-15), Florida Panthers (2015-2017) and Calgary Flames (2017).
He played 141 games for the Czech national team, scoring 49 goals (including 23/6 for Czechoslovakia).
Jagr’s bests successes are the golds at the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and at the world championship in Austria (2005) and Germany (2010), the bronzes at the Turin Olympics in 2006, at the world championships in Switzerland (1990) and in Slovakia (2011), the Stanley Cup victories in 1991 and 1992 and the victory in the Super Six 2005 tournament of European champions.
He won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the most useful NHL player in 1999, three times the Lester B. Pearson Award (now Ted Lindsay Award) for the most useful player according to players (1999-2000, 2006), and five times the Art Ross Trophy for the most productive player in the regular season (1995, 1998-01).
Jagr was seven times a member of the first All Star team of NHL (1995-96, 1998-01, 2006), he was declared the best forward of the 2011 world championship and three times a member of the All Star team at world championships (2004-05, 2011).
He was declared the Czech athlete of the year in 2005 and he won the Czech Golden Stick award for best hockey player 11 times (1995-96, 1999-00, 2002, 2005-08, 2011, 2014).
President Vaclav Klaus bestowed a Medal for Merit on Jagr in 2010.