Travelling Jagrs head to Saddledome to cheer on Jaromir Jagr
Mullet-wearing fans follow hockey legend on road
Like any good story, it all starts in Vegas.
A group of buddies from Alberta went for a weekend getaway. It was Halloween, so they dressed up in costume.
"The first year we went as sexy refs and then we needed to change it up for the second year," said Calgary's Trevor Freeman.
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Several guys in the group were huge fans of Jaromir Jagr, the oldest player in the NHL, and already had his jersey.
All they needed was the hair.
"He's like the Wayne Gretzky of Europe," said Billy Christian. "He's a great player and he rocks the mullet."
And that is how the Travelling Jagrs were born.
Florida Panthers are game
They've been following Jagr on the road for four years and are gearing up to watch the hockey legend take on the Calgary Flames Wednesday night.
The owners of the Florida Panthers caught wind of their group last year and have been "very good" to them, says superfan Tylor Keller.
Meaning, they flew them out to watch a game in Florida and asked them to judge a contest to find their next groupie.
This Travelling Jagr would actually be a non-travelling Jagr who would represent the Jagr groupies at home games in Florida.
The team spun the contest like a job interview. Here were some of the job requirements and responsibilities:
- Lack of any knowledge of socially acceptable hairstyles.
- Cheer loudly and provide witty and fan-friendly Jagr-centric commentary throughout a game.
- Ability to speak English (bonus points for ability to speak Czech).
The winner, Peter Drapalik, had all those qualifications — and more.
"This guy shows up, a truck driver, he's from the Czech Republic and he's a huge fan," said Keller. "He was literally the Travelling Jagr."
Epic hair is the key
Armed with black mullet wigs, the Travelling Jagrs are starting to make a name for themselves in the stands.
"Vancouver actually had a lot of doppelgangers," said Freeman.
Keller says Jagr has acknowledged them several times from the ice with a friendly wave.
"He had some epic hair back in the day and he's growing it back. We like to think we're 6.8 per cent responsible for that."