Jagr calls for more support ahead of game benefiting Ukrainian families

Jaromir Jagr. (Jaroslav Ozana/AP)

Hockey legend Jaromir Jagr is asking fans to help the people of Ukraine ahead of a fundraising game he is organizing for the team he owns in the Czech league.

"We need more help, that's why I'm asking you," Jagr said on a video posted on his Twitter account.

Jagr announced last week that his team, Kladno, will move its final regular-season game on Tuesday to an 18,000-plus-seat arena in Prague from its 5,200-seat home in Chomutov with ticket proceeds benefitting Ukrainian families seeking asylum in the Czech Republic.

Jagr, 50, continues to play some games for Kladno.

"The last 10 days, the world has changed," Jagr said. "There’s thousands and thousands of people leaving Ukraine just to survive."

Jagr has long worn the No. 68 to mark 1968 -- the year Soviet tanks stormed into Czechoslovakia to quell the Prague Spring insurgency that had temporarily brought social reform.

His grandfather died between the start of the uprising and its brutally swift conclusion -- before Jagr was born.

"At least my grandfather died in freedom," Jagr told The Associated Press in a 1998 interview.

Jagr grew up studying a Soviet-dictated curriculum that included some Russian language -- and despised it. He carried President Ronald Reagan’s picture in a schoolbook, dreaming of the day he would move to the United States and experience real freedom.

Jagr's fundraiser comes as he is on the verge of being overtaken for third on the NHL all-time goal-scoring list by Russian Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin has 764 career goals, two behind Jagr.

-- With files from The Associated Press

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