The 33rd professional season of Jaromir Jagr’s Hall of Fame career came to an end on Thursday, but the 49-year-old says he has no plans to retire yet.
However, he admits his on-ice skills aren’t what they used to be.
“I believe I still have it in me,” Jagr said in an interview with NHL.com. “It is all just about working hard and putting more effort. I have to practice harder and avoid gaining weight. You know, I was used to scoring a goal when I wanted to score one. I have been working hard since I was very young to be able to do it. And suddenly I feel it is not possible anymore.”
On Thursday, Jagr helped the team he owns — the Kladno Knights — earn promotion to the Czech Extraliga by defeating Dukla Jihlava in Game 7 of the Chance Liga final. Jagr had two goals and 12 points in 19 regular season games, then added two goals and 10 points in 16 playoff contests, including an assist in the clinching game.
While those numbers are impressive for a 49-year-old, Jagr said he expects more from himself and that part of the reason he’s still playing is due to business commitments with Kladno.
“The main reason I am still playing is my responsibility to the club,” Jagr said. “If I did not have any, I would not be flying around on the ice here. Because I am embarrassing myself there, I can say.”
“I expect much more from myself and I don’t have it,” he added. “But I am aware that when I leave, many (business) partners will leave the team too. That’s why I have no choice.”
Jagr last played in the NHL for the Calgary Flames in the 2017-18 season and is one of the top offensive stars in NHL history. He currently ranks second in points (1,921), third in goals (766), fourth in games played (1,733) and fifth in assists (1,155) all-time. The two-time Stanley Cup champion won the Hart Trophy in 1998-99 and led the NHL in scoring five times.
The Knights are scheduled to play in an outdoor game this December, an event that was postponed from December of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jagr said he intends to play in that game and then reassess his career.
“I cannot quit. We have an [outdoor game] sold out,” Jagr said. “But honestly, I know I have to be much better. I want to get better to help my team… What I know for sure is that I will do anything possible to help my club.”