Close your eyes and clear your minds for one second and imagine that you were drafted into the National Hockey League 25 years ago at the tender age of eighteen. It is now the year 2015 and you are still lacing up your skates night after night. So many things have changed since you first pulled a professional hockey team’s sweater over your head but there is one thing that sticks out more than anything else. Every single player that entered the league through the NHL Entry Draft the same year as you has called it quits. While your peers are off living different lives compared to what they did 25 years earlier, you are still mesmerizing the audience scoring goals and making a team better.
Okay, you can snap out of it now. It may have only been for a short amount of time but you just climbed into the mind of the ageless wonder, Jaromir Jagr. At 43 years old, Jagr is demonstrating to the world that age truly is only a number as he leads his Florida Panthers in points with eighteen.
Too Old, Says Who?
When Jagr returned to the NHL for the 2011-2012 regular season with the Philadelphia Flyers, many must have imagined that this comeback would be short-lived. Nobody expected the 39-year-old from Czech Republic to have that much of an effect on the men in orange and black. Jagr proved every doubter wrong by recording 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games, and serving as a mentor to Philadelphia’s young stars.
After his season with the Flyers, Jagr spent some time with both the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins during the 2012-2013 season. In his 45 games played that season, number 68 managed to tally 35 points.
Jagr really experienced his resurgence when he joined the New Jersey Devils 2013. It was clear that the 41-year-old still had plenty left in the tank but nobody expected him to have the year that he did. Jagr proved that rest was for the younger generation as he played in all 82 games, scored 24 goals, and added 43 assists. With 67 points, he became the oldest player in the NHL to lead his team in points at the end of the season.
Now with the Florida Panthers, Jagr could possibly break the record that he set with the Devils two seasons ago. Jagr leads the talented Panthers in points and has them on the outside looking in at a possible playoff spot. Yes it is always possible that one of the youngsters can dethrone father time himself atop the stats sheet but betting against Jagr would be a foolish move.
A Miracle On Ice
Of course Jagr will never be the same player that scored 100-plus points four times with the Penguins and once with the Rangers. However, it is amazing this guy can still play hockey at the professional level let alone lead his team in any sort of statistic. With 730 goals and 1090 assists in his career, Jagr becomes one of the most iconic players to ever hit the ice. The fact that we are still talking about him in the present tense just makes his tenure in the NHL even more magical.
There will come a time when Jaromir Jagr will finally hang up his skates for good and move onto to the next chapter in his life. It could be at the end of this season or it could be another five years from now. Regardless it should be every hockey fans prerogative to watch this wonder of the world at work. The chances we ever see a player quite like him again in any sport are slim to none.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.