They say everything is bigger in Texas, and apparently so are the contracts. Jaromir Jagr signed a 1 year deal worth $4.5 million with the Dallas Stars, taking the attention away from Ryan Suter and Zach Parise for a moment.
With the Flyers last year, Jagr was as great as a teammate as you could see. His work ethic, even at age 40, seemed almost nonhuman. Jagr would skate and practice at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees until they turned the lights out. He even owned his own key to lock up the place. Jagr is also partially responsible for Claude Giroux’s burst into stardom. He took “Little Mario” under his wing, and helped him become one of the most complete players in the NHL. Even Scott Hartnell, who had not produced more than 60 points since his WHL days, notched 37 goals and 67 points.
When the Czech national player signed with the Flyers, many questioned if he would accept a role as a mentor. He did it graciously and with class. His teammates could not stop speaking his praises throughout the season, and they continued as he left. Max Talbot, Scott Hartnell and Matt Read all wished him farewell, and thanked him for being a fantastic teammate. Jagr responded to each of them accordingly, encouraging them to achieve greater than they already had.
Even for all the torture Jagr put Flyers fans through as a member of the Penguins, all had seemed to be forgiven. His “shoot and salute” made the fans go wild, and they made sure Jaromir Jagr heard their praises night in and night out.
As the 2012 season came to an end, Jagr said that playing with the Flyers was the most fun he ever had, yet there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding a return to Philadelphia in 2013.
On July 3rd, all hopes of a return were dashed. Philadelphia was hoping Jagr would take a paycut from the $3.3 million he made last year, he was looking for a pay raise. With Philadelphia basically out of the running, Dallas reached out to Jagr’s camp. A team that was trying to desperately making it to the salary cap floor, Jagr received an offer that was hard to refuse, and a deal no other team could match.
So Jaromir Jagr will be donning a Stars sweater for his 20th career NHL season, but he will forever be remembered for all the good he did in Orange & Black in just one year.
His leadership and vast hockey intelligence, and his cordiality with the media and teammates helped make him a Flyers legend. But most importantly, the bond he created with Flyers fans is something that can never be broken.
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