At 44 years old, Jaromir Jagr is still an effective hockey player in the National Hockey League. His three point performance last night was good enough to tie Mark Messier for second on the all-time scoring list. At his age, most players have been retired for 10 years already. Most would be kicking back and enjoying life after hockey, doing analysis, or taking up golf. Not Jagr. At the age of 44, he was scoring his 1887th point in the National Hockey League, arguably the best league in the world. He is also growing out that iconic mullet that hockey fans have come to associate with Jagr. He wouldn’t have it any other way, either. Jagr considers himself married to the game and has previously stated that he would like to play until he is 50. At this rate, it is not beyond the realm of possibility. At 50, most of us would be lucky to be able to tie our own skates, let alone lace them up 82+ times per year against the best in the world.
Aside from his 23 years in North America, Jaromir Jagr has also played several years across Europe and Asia. One might think that his goal would be to play a game in every rink ever made. Jagr has spent time in Italy, Russia, Germany, as well as his home country of Czech Republic. In a total of seven seasons, Jagr put up fifty or more points in four of those seasons. His seasons were often split between the NHL and Europe due to several NHL lockouts. The numbers are impressive to say the least. It didn’t matter where Jagr was playing. He loved it.
Some make the argument that if he had spent some of those years in the NHL, he may be close to Wayne Gretzky’s mark of 2857 points. “Close” being the key word. There is no timetable for Jagr’s career to end and we do not know how many points he will end up with. However, Jagr would need another lifetime of playing in order to catch the Great One. Even if all of his points are added up from overseas, he is still well short of Gretzky’s mark. Remarkably, if you take away all of Gretzky’s goals, he still holds the all-time record for points over Jagr by 76 points. Jagr has already played 175 more games than Gretzky did. It’s an astronomical number of points in the number of games Gretzky played in. Just ridiculous. Our grandchildren, let alone us, in all likelihood may never see that record broken.
Back to the Future
In his 6th consecutive one-year contract, Jagr is playing every season as if it is his last. Being 44, he will most likely not receive more than a two year contract for the rest of his career. And that is being generous. It is hard to dismiss him, however. Limited to 20 games with Florida two years ago, Jagr responded last season by playing 79 games and racking up 66 points. This year looks to be much of the same as he has played in 33 games and accrued 19 points in the young season. By the looks of it, Jagr will keep playing himself into one year contracts. He may very well reach the magical number of 50 years of age and still be competing with guys half his age.