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Jaromir Jagr’s expanded role in HC Kladno’s management

August 30, 2011

Mister Jaromir Jagr will be returning to the US soon enough, hopefully to less fanfare than earlier in the summer, in which his flight was being tracked by thousands of Penguins fans. This time, he’ll be a Flyer.

But there’s been one interesting nugget of information to come out of the press in recent days about how Jagr will conduct business with the Czech Extraliga team he owns and operates–HC Kladno. He once played for the club, which is located in his hometown. Jagr’s father led the team for many years, before the younger Jagr took the reins earlier in the year. The team is near and dear to him, and his involvement will likely continue after his playing career ends. It is a storied club with lofty goals. The likes of Tomas Plekanec, Tomas Kaberle, Jakub Voracek, Jiri Tlusty and Michal Frolik have all played there.

Jagr revealed to IDNES that he intends on continuing to manage the team while abroad and playing in the NHL this season. He plans on being in close communication with team GM Vaclav Bartos. He said, “when it starts [the season], I’d like to see all matches.” He admitted it will be hard, as he’ll be busy. Tack on the fact that the Extraliga season starts the day before camp in Philly opens and you have some coordinating issues. Asked whether Jagr would call coach Zdnenk Vojta after the first period of game that’s going poorly, Jagr replied in the affirmative, “if I could, I’d like to do that.”

And that’s what’s astounding. Jagr will be juggling an NHL comeback while helping manage an Extraliga team. He says he’s not too certain how it will all work out, and neither am I. That seems hugely stressful. Former Bruin Mark Recchi maintained his involvement as part-owner with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers while playing, but it was to nowhere near this level.

Will Jagr be too busy managing a team to rest? To engage with his new teammates? To properly train? To attend to media matters? How will this work? He’s being paid a hefty three million dollars for his services in Philadelphia and surely they don’t want him distracted. While the expectations of Jagr have been sufficiently tempered, I can’t envision this work arrangement being a healthy one. Whom will Jagr room with on the road? How will late-night phone calls to Kladno be handled?

Jagr is a grown man and professional, so perhaps I shouldn’t have so many doubts. He was able to play in the KHL and manage the team with his father before, so perhaps my questions are misplaced. But there seem to be some problems with this picture. Part of me think it’s excellent that Jagr have ambition and a desire to be involved in business and to better Czech hockey. Part of me thinks he’ll be overloaded and neither task will be done appropriately.

But part of me also realizes–he’s Jaromir Jagr.

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