Monday, 26 February 2018

Jágr arrives in Prague, signs contract with Kladno

ČTK |
1 February 2018

Kladno, Central Bohemia, Jan 31 (CTK) - Jaromir Jagr, 45, Czech ice-hockey forward and the second most productive player in the history of the NHL, arrived from Calgary in the Czech Republic and signed a contract with the First League club Rytiri Kladno on Wednesday.

First League is the second division Czech hockey competition after the top Elite League. Jagr has been the club's majority owner since 2011. Before this, the club was owned by his father.

Jagr left for the Rytiri Kladno team from the NHL's Calgary Flames.

Jagr is most likely to play with Kladno for the first time in its game against Benatky nad Jizerou in Liberec, north Bohemia, starting at 17:30 on Saturday, if he as the club's owner approved the rescheduling of the game.

"Jaromir is in the Czech Republic. He has signed a contract with Kladno. He has already fixed his transfer card. He is yet to see a doctor," Kladno club spokesman Vit Heral told CTK.

A successful medical check-up is the last point needed for Kladno to complete Jagr's registration with the Czech Ice Hockey Association before the transfer deadline expires.

Jagr is to train with Kladno on Thursday morning.

He avoided meeting the media upon his arrival at the Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague on Wednesday.

The club announced beforehand that Jagr would not give any interviews after his arrival. The club gives a press conference on his return to Kladno after his training at 11:00 on Thursday.

Jagr suffered from health troubles with his groins and knee this season, and this is why he only played 22 games with Calgary Flames, scoring seven points for one goal and six assists. He played his last game with the Flames against Chicago on December 31.

On the Calgary Flames' website, Jagr thanked its general manager Brad Treliving and the club for the great opportunity to be part of their team and a chance to continue in the NHL this season. He said he was grateful to the Flames, the fans and the town of Calgary for their generous admissions. Now he was looking forward to playing in Kladno, he added.

Rytiri Kladno would like to advance to the top league this year. To be able to support Kladno in the playoffs, Jagr must play at least 15 games in the regular season. "It is rather uncomfortable for me that I must play 15 games according to the rules," Jagr said.

He warned his fans who were buying tickets for the next games of Kladno that he may play only a few minutes in the first few games due to his injured knee. "There is no rule for how many minutes I must play (in a game). It may happen that I will appear only in one or two substitutions if I am not able to play more," Jagr said.

Rytiri Kladno lost to Energie Karlovy Vary 0-4 at home this evening. Jagr was among the audience. Rytiri is in the third place in the league's standings, Energie is second.

The teams of the Czech Elite League showed interest in Jagr as he might play with them in some games according to the ice hockey rules. Skoda Plzen, which leads the highest league and whose owner and coach is Jagr's old friend and teammate Martin Straka, is among those interested.

A series of injuries and the departure from the NHL prevented Jagr from catching up, in this season, with legendary Gordie Howe's record number of NHL games played. Jagr has played a total of 1733 games in the NHL, which means his third position behind Mark Messier (1756) and Howe (1767).

Jagr, born in Kladno, played for Poldi Kladno (1988-90), Pittsburgh Penguins (1990-2001; during a NHL lockout for HC Bolzano, Kladno and Schalker Haie), Washington Capitals (2001-04), New York Rangers (2004-08; during a NHL lockout for Kladno and Avangard Omsk), Avangard Omsk (2008-11), Philadelphia Flyers (2011-12), Dallas Stars (2012-13; during a NHL lockout for Kladno), Boston Bruins (2013), New Jersey Devils (2013-15), Florida Panthers (2015-2017) and Calgary Flames (2017).

He played 141 games for the Czech national team, scoring 49 goals (including 23/6 for Czechoslovakia).

Jagr's best successes are the golds at the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and at the world championship in Austria (2005) and Germany (2010), the bronzes at the Turin Olympics in 2006, at the world championships in Switzerland (1990) and in Slovakia (2011), the Stanley Cup victories in 1991 and 1992 and the victory in the Super Six 2005 tournament of European champions.

He won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the most useful NHL player in 1999, three times the Lester B. Pearson Award (now Ted Lindsay Award) for the most useful player according to players (1999-2000, 2006), and five times the Art Ross Trophy for the most productive player in the regular season (1995, 1998-01).

He won the Czech Golden Stick award for best hockey player 11 times (1995-96, 1999-00, 2002, 2005-08, 2011, 2014).

Previous president Vaclav Klaus bestowed a Medal for Merit on Jagr in 2010.

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