50 stunning facts, stats, and stories to celebrate Jaromir Jagr’s 50th birthday
Jaromir Jagr is celebrating his 50th birthday on Tuesday and he is still playing hockey professionally in the Czech Republic.
That alone is an absolutely incredible fact. So we wanted to take a dive down memory line to look back at 50 stunning facts, stats, and stories to celebrate Jagr’s professional hockey career that has spanned 34 seasons (and touched five different decades!) going all the way back to his debut with Kladno as a 16-year-old.
Here we go.
The basics that you may know
1. His 766 career regular-season goals are third on the NHL’s all-time list behind only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe.
2. He is second on the NHL’s all-time points list with 1,921 points
3. He is in the top-five in the following categories: Regular-season goals, regular-season points, regular-season shots on goal, regular-season assists, even-strength goals, games played, postseason points.
4. He appeared in 10 NHL All-Star Games.
5. During his career he won the NHL’s scoring title five times, and was one of just three players (Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux being the other two players) to win it between 1981 and 2001, a stretch of 20 seasons.
6. He won the Art Ross Trophy more times than any non-Canadian player.
7. He won the 1999 Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.
8. He won the Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award; most outstanding player as voted by the players) three different times.
9. He won the Bill Masterton Trophy during the 2015-16 season.
10. Two-time Stanley Cup champion (1991 and 1992 with the Pittsburgh Penguins).
11. Olympic Gold medal winner (1998 with the Czech Republic).
12. Two-time IIHF World Championship winner (2005 and 2010 with the Czech Republic).
13. One of just 27 players to be in the IIHF “Triple Gold Club” as a Stanley Cup champion, World Championship Gold Medalist, and Olympic Gold Medalist.
14. He is one of just two Czech players to be in the Triple Gold Club, joining his former Penguins teammate Jiri Slegr.
15. He was the flag bearer for the Czech Republic at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
16. He represented the Czech Republic in the Olympics four times (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010), scoring 11 goals.
17. He was named as one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players in 2017.
The stunning numbers
18. He has played more than 2,410 professional hockey games in the regular season and playoffs across the NHL and Europe.
19. He has been playing professional hockey in one league or another for the past 34 consecutive years.
20. He stated previously that he wanted to play until he is 50, and now he has done it.
21. During those games he has scored more than 1,038 goals in his professional games (regular season, playoffs, NHL, and Europe).
22. There have been 1,050 players to appear in at least one NHL game this season. Only 93 of them (8.8%) were actually born when Jagr made his professional debut for Kladno in 1988-89 as a 16-year-old.
23. Only 17 of the NHL’s 32 teams were in their current locations in 1988. Four of them moved (Minnesota to Dallas, Hartford to Carolina, Winnipeg to Arizona, Quebec to Colorado) and 11 came into existence (San Jose, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Florida, Anaheim, Nashville, Columbus, Minnesota Wild, Vegas, and Seattle). Another team, Atlanta, came into existence and also moved (to Winnipeg to become Jets version 2.0).
24. Jagr has played for 14 different teams professionally throughout his career in six different countries (United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, and Italy).
Crazy but true facts
25. Jagr has been playing hockey so long that he played against the Soviet Union in the 1990 IIHF World Junior Championship.
26. He also played against West Germany.
27. While playing for Czechoslovakia.
28. In Jagr’s rookie season he played against Guy Lafleur. In Lafleur’s rookie season he was teammates with Henri Richard. In Henri Richard’s rookie season he was teammates with his brother, Maurice. In Maurice Richard’s rookie season he was teammates with Toe Blake. In Toe Blake’s rookie season? He played for the Montreal Maroons.
29. When Jagr began playing in professionally in Kladno in 1988, Marcel Dionne, Larry Robinson, Billy Smith, Borje Salming, and Lafleur were all still active NHL players.
30. Jagr not only played in Wayne Gretzky’s final NHL game 23 years ago, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to end Gretzky’s career.
31. Jagr was long-time teammates with Lemieux in Pittsburgh and assisted on his final playoff goal before his first retirement in 1997.
32. Then, three years later, he also assisted on Lemieux’s first goal in his NHL return.
33. He also scored a goal in that game, which was assisted by Lemieux.
34. At different points in his career he was both the youngest player in the NHL (18, during the 1990-91 season) and the oldest player in the NHL (45, during the 2015-16 season).
35. Personal anecdote No. 1: During Game 1 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Final in Pittsburgh, hours after the Boston Bruins had defeated the Penguins, there was still one player tirelessly working out in the hall outside of the team’s locker rooms: It was 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr
36. Personal anecdote No. 2: Following a game in 2012 in Pittsburgh when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, Jagr was asked one last question about a defensive play he made in that game to prevent a goal in a Flyers win after several other media members had left the scrum. Jagr stood up out of his seat, screamed “I am so glad you asked that question!” And began calling every media member in the room back over him to while screaming, “Selke Trophy! Right here! When you vote for the Selke Trophy, remember my name!” He seemed legitimately happy.
37. He did not get a Selke Trophy vote that season, but he did get random Selke votes in 2006-07 and 2015-16.
38. There is an argument to be made that he saved the Penguins franchise in 1999. If the Penguins lose Game 6 to New Jersey there was a belief the team was either going to fold or relocate. They so desperately needed the revenue of another playoff series. Jagr scored the game-tying goal with less than two minutes to play and then the game-winning goal in overtime. The Penguins then won Game 7 in New Jersey to advance. He did all of that while playing, basically, on one leg.
39. He once angered Barry Trotz by trying to score a between-the-legs goal on a breakaway.
He is everywhere
40. He has a commemorative bank note in the Czech Republic:
The Czech Republic has issued a commemorative banknote for Jaromir Jagr's 50th birthday. Note the Triple Gold Club logo on the face side. On the back, the crowded Old Town Square in Prague, where the Czech hockey team arrived after winning the Nagano Olympics in 1998. https://t.co/i4jKnrau7X pic.twitter.com/yoVaPCclPC— Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) February 15, 2022
42. The Traveling Jagr fan club that made its way around the NHL toward the end of his NHL career.
43. Jagr was traded four times in his career, going from Pittsburgh to Washington; Washington to New York; Dallas to Boston; New Jersey to Florida
44. The players he was traded for: Kris Beech, Michal Sivik, Ross Lupaschuk, Anson Carter, Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, a first-round draft pick (Jason Dickinson), a second-round draft pick (Ryan Gropp), and a third-round draft pick (Rem Pitlick).
45. Those nine players have combined to score (as of Tuesday) 269 goals in the NHL. That is 497 fewer goals than Jagr himself scored in the NHL. And 202 of those goals belonged to Anson Carter by himself. The other eight players combined for only 67 goals.
46. He owns his hometown team in Kladno, where he still plays.
47. He is still the oldest player in NHL history to record a hat trick at age 42 as a member of the New Jersey Devils. He recorded 15 hat tricks during his career, and had five seasons with multiple hat tricks.
48. His 19 overtime goals are second on the NHL all-time list, trailing only Alex Ovechkin’s 24. The obvious catch here is that Jagr spent the bulk of his career playing without the luxury of 4-on-4 or 3-on-3 overtime.
49. Jagr was at his peak between the 1994-95 and 2000-01 seasons, winning four of the six scoring titles during that stretch. He averaged 1.54 points per game during that stretch. No other player that appeared in at least 200 games during that stretch averaged more than 1.35 points per game. Eric Lindros (1.35) and Joe Sakic (1.30) were the only other two over 1.30.
50. The ultimate what if: Could he have beaten Wayne Gretzky’s goal record? He finished his NHL career with 766 regular season goals, 128 behind Gretzky. Keep in mind that he missed two half seasons (1994-95 and 2012-13) and one full season (2004-05) due to lockouts, and then three more full seasons when he went to play in the KHL between 2008-09 and 2010-11. That is basically six full seasons from his NHL career, gone. While you can not assume no injuries, it is not a stretch to think he could have found 128 goals in all of those seasons, especially at the rates he scored goals during those years. In an alternate universe Alex Ovechkin is chasing Jagr’s all-time goals record right now.