It would be 'bittersweet' if Jaromir Jagr's NHL career ends in Calgary, superfan says
'It was just a crazy ride as far as it went'
Jaromir Jagr may have been placed on regular waivers by the Calgary Flames on Sunday, according to reports, but superfan Trevor Freeman won't be hanging up his mullet and #68 jersey just yet.
Freeman is one of the founding members of the 'Travelling Jagrs,' a group of fans who have been faithfully cheering on their Czech hockey hero for more than a decade.
"It was just a crazy ride as far as it went," Freeman said.
"It's really bittersweet to see it come to an end in Calgary of course … it'll be a bit more effort for us to watch more games and we're not ready for him to be done with the NHL yet."
Two people with direct knowledge of the move confirmed to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that Jagr was on waivers. The team has yet to announce the transaction.
"It was decided a couple weeks ago by the Flames that the end was here and that the experiment was no longer working out for either party," Sportsnet analyst Eric Francis said.
Francis said the 45-year-old didn't have a fighting chance because he got to camp out of shape, and was hit with injury after injury.
The Flames signed Jagr to a $1 million, one-year deal with performance bonuses at the start of the season. He had his debut on Oct. 11, but hasn't played since Dec. 31 due to a lower-body injury.
Francis said it was still a "worthwhile endeavour" for the team.
"There's an argument that could be made that Jaromir Jagr is the greatest Flame of all time," he said.
Jagr has the second most points in NHL history, and is widely considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Francis said the cost and risk to the team was minimal, and Jagr served as a great mentor to Flames winger Johny Gaudreau.
"He sold a lot of jerseys, he got a lot of people excited about hockey in Calgary at a time when it could certainly use a kick," he said.
That's a sentiment Freeman definitely agrees with.
"If you have a Flames Jagr jersey, there's potential that's the last NHL jersey he'll have scored a goal in," he said.
If Jagr doesn't get claimed by another team, he'll likely head to Europe, as he owns a team in the Czech Republic.
He'd be wrapping up an illustrious career of 28-years in the NHL, with 1,733 games played, 766 goals, 1,555 assists and 1,921 points.
Freeman said the 'Travelling Jagrs' will continue to be "hockey ambassadors" and will follow Jagr to Europe if that's where he ends up.
"Getting the chance to see a legend play in person is indescribable," he said.
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With files from Terri Trembath and the Associated Press