Czechs Lose, Jaromir Jagr Retires From International Play
If you are a fan of the Czech Republic hockey team, are from the Czech Republic, or follow the team simply because of Jaromir Jagr’s participation, Sunday’s bronze medal loss and its aftermath was a bad double whammy for you. In fact, it’s another blow to hockey worldwide, following Teemu Selannie’s retirement after the Olympics.
Following the Czechs 3-0 loss to Sweden in the bronze medal game on Sunday, Jagr announced his retirement from international play. Jagr didn’t stumble around on the ice in the World Championships and feebly decide to exit — he was a contributor to the team in a huge way, leading them in points. He finished the competition with four goals and four assists in 10 games for the Czechs; Jagr can truly say he went out on his terms, bowing out gracefully and respectfully.
Speaking to the IIHF website after the game about his retirement, Jagr said, “This was for sure the last one; it’s not that I would think I’m not good enough for it. But this is a different hockey than I play. My hockey doesn’t fit this style.”
It’s clear that, despite Jagr’s style not fitting in with the current Czech approach, his game is good enough to translate. It is amazing — but not so surprising — that someone who has played as long as Jagr has, and as well as he has, could be slotted into an unfamiliar system and still be the best on the team in terms of scoring. That says a lot for Jagr’s character, instincts, and pure hockey skill.
According to the New Jersey Devils website, “The 42-year-old [Jagr] was seeking his third bronze and fifth medal at the world championship. He finishes with 29 goals and 37 assists for 66 points in 70 career games. He won world championship titles in 2005 and 2010 and Olympic gold in 1998. He reached the Olympic quarterfinals in this year’s Winter Games, the fifth of his career.”
It has been a wonderful international career for Jaromir Jagr. Now, he will have the rest of the offseason to focus on creating excitement (and memories) for the Devils next season.