Jaromir Jagr is back for a 24th NHL season, and for the first time he’ll be skating in a Canadian market.
The Calgary Flames have announced that they have signed the five-time NHL scoring champion to a one-year deal. The official announcement came two days after the move was initially reported.
The Flames introduced Jagr at a press conference on Wednesday, and the 45-year-old said getting the chance to play in Canada, where hockey is the most popular sport, factored in his decision to sign.
“I already said in a Czech newspaper it’s 99.9 per cent that his will be my last season, so i want to get the experience to one day say I played for a Canadian team,” he said.
Jagr, a native of Kladno, Czech Republic, is second on the NHL all-time scoring list with 1,914 points (765 goals, 1,149 assists), trailing only Wayne Gretzky.
He has played 1,711 NHL games with Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, New Jersey and Florida and is just 57 games from surpassing Gordie Howe for the most NHL games ever played (1,767).
Flames assistant general manager Craig Conroy said “everyone was on board” with the signing.
“How do we make us competitive? We felt the best way to do this is to get the best player available, and Jaromir Jagr happened to be available,” Conroy said.
Jagr started his career with Pittsburgh in the 1990-91 season and helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
He was awarded the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in 1999.
Ten Flames were not even born in 1991 when Jagr won the first of his Stanley Cups, but Jagr said he has no problem playing with guys half his age.
“Everyone compared to my age is a young guy,” Jagr said. “Last 20 years I’ve played with young guys. But the last two years in Florida I played with (Jonathan) Huberdeau and (Aleksander) Barkov and combined there age is still younger than me. It was great for me and hopefully they can say the same thing.”