PRAGUE (Reuters) - Evergreen Czech ice hockey great Jaromir Jagr is considering playing for the national team at this year’s world championships in his home country after the Florida Panthers failed to make the NHL playoffs.
Jagr, who inspired the Czechs to Olympic Gold in 1998, has previously retired from international competition before changing his mind to join up with the team for major events.
“I will join the team (but) it is not certain that I will play at the championships. I will prepare and we will see how it all works out,” Jagr told the Sport daily.
The 43-year-old right winger wants to speak with Czech manager Vladimir Ruzicka, Jagr’s team mate and captain in the 1998 Olympic gold medal-winning team.
The NHL’s fifth all-time leading goalscorer started the season with the New Jersey Devils before being traded to the Florida Panthers, whose failure to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs freed Jagr up for the world championships starting in May.
Jagr, who was the fifth overall selection and only active player left from the 1990 NHL entry draft, has also won two Stanley Cups and two world titles.
Jagr is wildly popular in his home country and wears the number 68 to commemorate the Prague Spring of 1968 when Warsaw Pact tanks invaded the Czech Republic to crush reforms of the Communist government that veered away from the Moscow line.
Reporting by Michael Kahn and Robert Muller,; Editing by Ed Osmond