Jaromir Jagr has ‘no choice’ but to keep playing as he approaches age 50

There's no end in sight for Jaromir Jagr's professional hockey career. (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)

There’s no end in sight for Jaromir Jagr’s professional hockey career. (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)

Former NHL player Jaromir Jagr has decided that he will continue to play for Kladno in the Czech Extraliga even as he nears his 50th birthday.

Jagr will be turning 50 in February 2022, but he said that people are still expecting him to play — and to play well.

“It’s not easy anymore, believe me,” Jagr said Wednesday to The Hockey News. «…mostly during my career, I felt that if I wanted to score a goal, I would score. But suddenly, this doesn’t work.

«At the same time, people still expect it from me, and that’s probably the worst feeling, when people think I can but I know I can’t.”

Jagr said that he will continue to play because it’s his “responsibility” as the owner of Kladno and he fears that the club might shut down if he retires.

“I have a responsibility to the club, otherwise I wouldn’t fly here and I wouldn’t be making a fool of myself. But if I quit, the partners and sponsors would leave and the club may be done. I have no choice.”

The 49-year-old forward said that on top of the responsibility of being the owner of the club, he’s also continuing to play for his father, who passed on the majority ownership of Kladno to him in 2011.

“As long as my father breathes, I take the club as my responsibility,” he said. “He held it for 20 years. As a son, I would be embarrassed if I left.”

Jagr played 24 seasons in the NHL. He got his start in the league when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins as the No. 5 pick in 1990. He then went on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups with the team in 1991 and ’92. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP in 1998-99.

Jagr’s last year playing in the NHL was in the 2017-18 season when he suited up for the Calgary Flames.

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