At 41, Jaromir Jagr Still Somehow Awesome at Hockey

Will he ever stop? Probably not.

Photo by Elizabeth Lavin
Photo by Elizabeth Lavin

The New Jersey Devils are in town to play the Dallas Stars tonight at the American Airlines Center. The Devils, if you didn’t know, and I didn’t know until a minute ago, are led in scoring by Jaromir Jagr, just a few weeks shy of his 42nd birthday. Seems as good a time as any to post Peter Simek’s wonderful profile of the NHL legend, which we intended to run in the magazine last year, until the Stars traded Jagr. We published it online instead, so catch up if you missed if the first time. A taste:

I also wonder why Jágr is still doing this. He has money. He owns a hockey team in his hometown. He could return to Kladno and finish out his career a hometown legend. Instead, he is in Dallas, playing alongside kids half his age, getting whipped by the league’s best, beating his body late into the night after the game to stay fit enough to continue to perform at the highest level in his sport.

“It’s in my genes,” Jágr says. “My dad is 70, and he still has a farm and he’s working every day. My mother, it’s the same thing. I cannot stop. I don’t think our family enjoyed life much. We feel like we have to work all the time.”

Well, at least you love what you do, I say.

“But you know what? My dad f–king loves the farm,” he says. “I ask him, ‘Why do you do that?’ Because he doesn’t have to work—he’s so rich. And he answers, ‘I have to be loyal to the things that f–king got me to be rich. When I had nothing, that gave me food.’ ”