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The NHL’s oldest player gets even older today as Jaromir Jagr turns 45. He’s the third-oldest skater to ever lace them up, and still has another seven years and 11 days to beat Gordie Howe.
That’s fine, since Jagr has said he wants to play until he’s 55 years old; which, given the way he trains, is not a crazy thought. (What’s the record for consecutive one-year contracts signed by a player?)
Jagr began his NHL career in 1990 and won the Stanley Cup in each of his first two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Twenty-seven years later he’s still schooling fools out on NHL ice surfaces. Since he’s turning 45 today, we wanted to wish him a happy birthday by listing 45 reasons why we love him.
1. Don’t let your future Christmas seasons be without Jagr Claus:
2. Capitalizing on his star power, Jagr unveiled his own line of peanut butter in 1996, which also contained magic groin-healing powers.
3. Down 4-1 in the opening game of the 1992 Stanley Cup Final, Jagr made a couple Chicago Blackhawks look silly with this set of moves to help start the Penguins’ comeback.
4. The mullet that was so good in the early 1990s that Jagr decided to bring it back a few years ago. Since he wants to play until his 50s, there’s a good chance if he keeps it growing it will reach the peak length it did in the ‘90s.
5. His 1990 Score rookie card used his draft day photo, which led to Mr. Irrelevant in 2008 to describe it as Jagr “letting his bangs breathe.”
6. His 2016 Halloween was better than yours:
8. He’s part of the exclusive Triple Gold Club, which means he’s won gold at the Olympics (1998), World Championship (2005, 2010) and won the Stanley Cup (1991, 1992). There are currently 27 players who have won all three, with Jagr being one of two Czechs (Jiri Slegr).
9. Jagr became the fifth Czech athlete to be named flag bearer for the Winter Olympics when he did the honors for the 2010 ceremony in Vancouver.
10. He was nearly drafted by the Flyers. Jagr went No. 5 overall in the 1990 NHL Draft to the Penguins. The Philadelphia Flyers picked Mike Ricci and No. 4. Earlier that spring, it seemed as if the Flyers were going to no doubt take Jagr with their first pick, until something changed.
He said he expected to play for the Philadelphia Flyers, who drafted fourth, and not the Penguins, who drafted fifth. A European scout had watched him closely, and he knew the Flyers GM at the time, Bobby Clarke, liked him a lot.
Penguins forward Jaromir Jagr stretches prior to a light practice at Civic Arena May 12, 1992. Jagr scored two goals in a victory over the New York Rangers in Game Five of the conference playoffs the night before. The Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Clarke was fired two months before the draft, and the Flyers’ draft strategy changed.
“One-hundred percent I thought I was going to Philly,” Jagr said. “They had talked to me and said, ‘We’re taking you.’ I was surprised when they didn’t call my name.”
11. Nobody loved denim more than Jagr and Martin Straka:
12. His name forms the anagram “Mario Jr.”
13. He’s the second Penguins player to score 1,000 points in franchise history.
14. The sardine picture with Luc Robitaille:
Protein gel packs are pretty popular these days. Maybe sardines provided an in-game boost back in the day?
15. This Jagr bust in a Capitals jersey:
16. The Wolverine facial hair during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Was this a tryout for the X-Men?
17. Selling with sausage:
How would you promote a Czech betting site? Holding a burger? Please.
18. He has beers named in his honor.
There’s Jaromir Lager:
And Jaromir Czech Jagr beer:
— Block Three Brewing (@BlockThree) June 11, 2016
19. He has a pretty decent trophy case:
Also, an ESPY!
20. If you camp outside of his house he may just bring you a sandwich:
In hopes of snapping a picture of Jagr with his girlfriend Veronika, one Czech photographer was surprised to see the future Hall of Famer come out and greet him with a sandwich. “You deserve this for your patience. Hockey taught me to respect my opponents,” Jagr told him.
21. P.K. Subban’s tribute at 2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition:
Subban honored the living legend during the event by donning a No. 68 Florida Panthers jersey and putting on a mullet wig. That total package helped the then-Montreal Canadiens defenseman defeat Brent Burns a.k.a. Chewbacca in the Breakaway Challenge.
22. He fights fires on the side:
As spokesman for Sazka’s television campaign promoting its various games, Jagr dressed as a firefighter and appeared to enjoy himself.
23. He stores a mullet wig in his dressing room stall:
— Jessica Blaylock (@JessBlaylock) October 11, 2015
Probably for inspiration and to remember the good ol’ days.
24. The Traveling Jagrs:
— The Travelling Jagrs (@68isgr8) April 3, 2016
The group of Jagr superfans, who travel all around North America to watch their hero play, finally got a chance to meet him last season in all of their mulletted glory.
25. He’s dipped his toes into world diplomacy:
26. How many other players have statues of them made from marzipan?
— Tereza Novotná (@TerezaNovotna) November 12, 2014
27. Mario Lemieux scored in his first game out of retirement on Dec. 27, 2000, and of course it was Jagr setting him up for the goal.
28. He made history with his butt:
“It hit my ass.”
29. He used to drink 10 cups of coffee a dayBut then Lent arrived on the calendar, as he told the Wall Street Journal:
“I was drinking 10 a day,” he said. “I felt awful the first few days, I felt like I had no energy at all. I was playing games I didn’t even know I played, the first few games. But then the body got used to it.”
30. He really wants a monkey. In a TSN piece in December, Nick Bjugstad told Frank Seravalli that Jagr said he was going to buy a monkey for the young Panthers forward and himself. Told that might be illegal, Jagr responded, “If people can have poisonous snakes, why can’t you have a monkey?” Good point.
Nick Bjugstad got the monkey off his back with his first goal of the season – so Jaromir Jagr got him a monkey for Christmas as promised. pic.twitter.com/MckEHujzPw
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) December 22, 2016
31. He owns his hometown hockey team, which has a great logo. Jagr came up through the Kladno system and in 2011 purchased a majority stake in the Czech team. His father, Jaromir, runs it and after they took over, they changed the logo, which is one of the best in hockey.
32. His total years in the NHL (23) is greatest than the age of 96 players this season.
33. The oldest NHL players during Jagr’s rookie year were Larry Robinson and Guy Lafleur, who were both 39.
34. He was on the ice during Wayne Gretzky’s final game:
Gretzky’s final NHL game occurred on April 19, 1999, the final day of the 1998-98 season. That day also concluded Jagr’s second-best offensive season when he scored 44 goals and posted 127 points. Those numbers would help him earn his third Art Ross Trophy and only Hart. He would also win the first of three Pearson Awards that season.
35. He knows how to sell shoes:
36. He’s an animal lover:
37. This photo was so iconic in the Czech Republic that Tomas Hertl wanted to take part in an updated version.
And this is proof that Hertl is similar to Jagr. pic.twitter.com/QT7uebzFGF
— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) September 25, 2013
38. He’s a multi-sport athlete:
39. He gets cool cakes for his birthday:
???? + ???????? + 6️⃣8️⃣ = ???? pic.twitter.com/zoa2ZIsniA
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 16, 2016
40. He’s good at social media. While Jagr doesn’t post much on Twitter any more, preferring Facebook, when he does Tweet, it’s quite memorable.
I took a selfie when I watch McDavid score goal tonight. Not bad for 18 years old pic.twitter.com/8VZdCuMLzQ
— Jaromir Jagr (@68Jagr) October 22, 2015
Halloween party!I can't believe, nobody recognized me:)actually this is really me, when I play hockey I have mask on pic.twitter.com/oY3fgw5AS9
— Jaromir Jagr (@68Jagr) November 2, 2015
Fans-I appreciate your votes for All-Star game, but 3 on 3 would kill me,and i don't want to die yet:)Thank you for understanding. Too old:)
— Jaromir Jagr (@68Jagr) December 2, 2015
41. He’s given us a top-5 player/fan selfie of all-time
— Ray Jabroni (@RayFoy4) March 16, 2014
42. The nightmare puppet:
There’s an entire stop-motion film coming out commemorating the Czech Republic’s gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics. The film uses puppets of players, including Jagr and it is nightmare-inducing.
43. He’s a proud endorser of Bubble Tape:
44. He’s a movie star
Unfortunately, the director decided to give only Darius Kasparaitis a speaking role.
45. Finally, his favorite player growing up was Jaromir Jagr:
Happy birthday, Jaromir!
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