'Travelling Jagrs' dust off mullets for Czech superstar's Alberta debut
'It's been a blast. And heck, he just keeps playing,' superfan says about Jagr joining Calgary Flames
The mullet-wearing fans of Jaromir Jagr are grooming for a new Alberta chapter in their hairy history.
Now that No. 68 has signed with the Calgary Flames, his most devoted Alberta fan club — the Travelling Jagrs — won't be embarking on as many road trips.
The motley crew of fans cheer on the beloved Czech superstar by attending games clad in full Jagr finery, with jerseys, sideburns and thick black mullet wigs.
"We've got All-Star Jagr, Czech Republic Jagr. We got Jagrettes, that's for the ladies. You can have Salt-and-Pepper Jagr, we can have Grandpa Jagr," said Tylor Keller, who is known as New York Rangers Jagr and serves as captain of the Travelling Jagrs.
"We've had so many people been a part of it."
Growing like a mullet
The Travelling Jagrs have become a staple at his Alberta games, attending each one faithfully for more than a decade, and catching Jagr play whenever they could — cheering exclusively for their hero, not the home team.
Now that Jagr is based in Calgary, the superfans won't be travelling as much and that's just fine by their captain, who lives in Camrose, Alta.
Keller can't believe his favourite hockey star has managed to become the oldest and among the most successful players in NHL history. Jagr, 45, is about to embark on his 25th NHL season, and still has all the swagger he did when he was first drafted, said Keller.
"At a young age, you're watching him and he's out there with the black tux, the flow and scoring at will," Keller recalls.
"As he got older, you just marvel at how good he actually is, and how he's been able to keep this going for so many years. I mean, he just signed again."
Keller and five friends were on the Nevada strip for an impromptu vacation and had to come up with a quick Halloween costume.
"We realized there are two nights of Halloween when you go down there, or five nights, depending what kind of trip you have," said Keller with a chuckle.
"I had a Jagr jersey, my buddy had a Pittsburgh jersey and we're like, 'Let's go as Jagr.'
"What do you need? A jersey, a mullet and then you add a shell and socks, throw a garter belt on and boom, you're Jagr!"
'It's been a blast'
What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.
They decided to bring their Jagr gang to a real game and made their beer-soaked premier at the old Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton in 2011.
"We said, let's dress everybody up as Jagr," Keller recalled. "We had every version of Jagr, with Pittsburgh, Washington, the Rangers, and it just snowballed from there.
"And heck, it's been a way of me hanging out with my friends every year and being able to go to games and cheer on Jagr, and it's been a blast.
"And heck, he just keeps playing ... Everything about it has just been fun."
Over the years, the Travelling Jagrs have added more friends and family members to their shaggy crew.
Look, I just tell my cat, there is a chance to play in NHL this year. 😀😀😀 <a href="https://t.co/8iBoTYeEl7">pic.twitter.com/8iBoTYeEl7</a>—@68Jagr
They've gone to New Jersey, Philadelphia and south Florida to see him, and even met the man himself a few times along the way.
The first time was after a game in Sunrise, Fla. Jagr asked his girlfriend to come find them in the stands. Jagr then cheerfully warned them to never steal his girl.
"In his Czech voice, he said, 'Hey you guys, when I go away who is going to look after my girl? How about you guys?' And then laughed, 'Ha ha ha, no way.'
"It was a beauty."
After that, there was little doubt Jagr gets a kick out of seeing his band of impersonators, said Keller.
"Oh yeah, for sure, he loves it."