NHL donates $68K to Jagr’s fund for Ukraine refugees

Hockey icon Jaromir Jagr. (Joel Auerbach/AP)

The NHL has answered Jaromir Jagr’s call for donations to support Ukrainians fleeing their homeland following Russia’s invasion.

The league stepped up with a $68,000 donation to a fund Jagr set up this week.

“Jaromir, for three decades we have marvelled at your talent, dedication and passion for our game. Tonight, we salute your generous heart and commitment to improve the lives of those displaced from their homes,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a video statement. “The National Hockey League is proud to support you and the great Czech fans in this effort.”

Jagr, 50, who owns and players for Kladno in the top Czech league, moved his club’s final home game to the 18,000 seat O2 Arena in Prague and is donating proceeds from ticket sales to help Ukrainian refugees resettle in the Czech Republic.

“The last 10 days, the world has changed,” Jagr said in a video message Monday. “There’s thousands and thousands of people leaving Ukraine just to survive.”

The game, which was played Tuesday, was sold out and fans further showed support to Ukraine with coloured banners that matched the Ukrainian flag.

Jagr has worn No. 68 throughout his legendary career as a tribute to the year 1968, when Soviet tanks stormed into Czechoslovakia to quell the Prague Spring insurgency that had temporarily brought social reform.

With files from The Associated Press.

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