This past week, the National Hockey League’s third-leading scorer in history has taken a stand against the ongoing unlawful invasion of Russian troops to Ukraine. Jaromir Jagr, the 50-year-old team member and owner of the Czech Extraliga’s Kladno Knights has been the leading force in a venue change for a Tuesday evening game between Kladno and Sparta.
The change will be done to see the opportunity for a greater overall fan attendance, revenue to which the team will donate to refugees from Ukraine who have fled to Czech Republic. Having originally been scheduled to face Sparta at the team’s home arena – the Rocket Arena in Chomutov – Jagr has had the final home game of Kladno’s season shifted to the 18,000 seat O2 Arena in Prague as a way of generating more fan attendance. The Rocket Arena has a seating capacity of just 5,250.
Jagr, who has worn No. 68 for the duration of his playing career, did so in honour of his grandfather who was sent to jail in the 1940s for refusing to work for the communists, which took over his family farm. His grandfather died in 1968, the same year that the Soviet Union later invaded his country through the Prague Spring liberation.
On Thursday, Jagr posted on his personal Facebook page that he was set on having the game vs. Sparta moved to the O2 Arena. 19K likes and 900 comments later, the game officially had a new host location. This all happened in a matter of 24 hours.
“We would dedicate the proceeds from the entrance fee to Ukrainian families,” Jagr wrote on his page. “I would like to make this happen in the O2 Arena, because it is a popular and modern arena, where a large number of people can come to help. I would like your opinion if you would come to the match and help us in this way those who need it the most at this time.”
The maximized proceeds of the additional ticket sales would go to Ukrainians seeking asylum after being displaced to Czechia by Russia’s invasion of their home country. On Friday, he followed up his initial post with the good news delivered to him by the Czech Extraliga.
“I am very happy to confirm that everything was successful even in such a short time,” the five-time Art Ross Trophy winner posted on Friday. “Now our only wish is to sell out the O2 Arena. Buy a ticket and help those Ukrainian families in the Czech Republic!”
Despite the O2 Arena typically serving as Sparta’s home venue, the Kladno Knights will serve as the home team on Tuesday evening.
Jagr, who has been with Kladno the past five years, has 766 NHL goals to his name, trailing just Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801) on the all-time scorers list. He will soon drop down to fourth place, however, as Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin is now up to 763 career tallies.
Jagr played 24 years in the NHL, most notably with the Pittsburgh Penguins where he won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 92. He last suited up for the Calgary Flames in 2017-18. He has put up eight goals and 19 points in 41 games for Kladno this season.