Jaromir Jagr is one of the top ice hockey players in the NHL. He was born February 15, 1972 in Kladno, Czechoslovakia.
Jagr still resides in the Czech Republic during the off season. His father, also named Jaromir Jagr, is prosperous and owns a chain of hotels. The younger Jagr showed his athletic aptitude early, he began skating at age three and was always one of the best players as he worked his way up through the Czech hockey leagues.
In 1990 he was the first Czechoslovakian player to be drafted by the NHL without first having to defect to the west. He was taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins and played with them for the next ten years. He was a supporting player with the powerhouse Penguins that won back to back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
It was in the later years that he truly broke out and became the most dominant right wing in the league. From 1994 to 1995 on a mediocre Penguins team Jagr won four straight NHL scoring titles, and in the 1995 season scored 149 points. In 1998 he lead the Czech Republic's team to a gold medal at the Nagano Olympics.
With the return of Mario Lemieux from retirement the Penguins had two superstars, but friction developed between the two. Also the struggling small market Penguins could no longer hope to meet Jagr's massive salary demands. Thus in 2001 they traded him to the Washington Capitals.
The Capitals made Jagr one of the most highly paid players in the NHL with an $11 million per year deal. Jagr, however, failed to perform. In the 2001-2002 season Washington failed to make the playoffs and Jagr appeared to being playing at a level far below the superstar he was. In 2002-2003 Washington managed to finish 6th overall in the Eastern Conference, but lost meekly to a rookie Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs.
Disgruntled the Washington ownership are now attempting to trade Jagr, but a year before a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is to be signed, it seems like few teams, if any, might be willing to risk $11 million on Jagr.