Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr last played in the Stanley Cup Final in 1992, and 21 years later, he’s back playing for the third Cup in his Hall of Fame career. In between Final appearances, Jagr dazzled while playing hockey across the world, picking up plenty of fans along the way.
One of those fans was a young Jonathan Toews. The Chicago Blackhawks captain admitted at Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Final media day that he, like just about every other hockey player growing up in the last 10-20 years, was a fan of Jagr. Now, Toews is going up against Jagr with the game’s greatest prize on the line.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Toews said Tuesday. “He was probably one of my favorite players when I was a kid. I think I wore No. 68 when I was playing summer hockey a couple of seasons, I guess. I had his Koho Jagr stick, so I really looked up to him when I was a young kid. I was probably 9 or 10 at that age and here I am getting a chance to play against him in the Stanley Cup Final. That’s pretty amazing to see right there.”
Playing in the Western Conference, Toews has had his share of battles against some of the game’s greats in the past few years. Whether it was when Jagr was with Dallas before joining the Bruins or against players like Teemu Selanne or Nicklas Lidstrom, Toews says he cherishes the chance to play against some of the games’ all-time greats.
“I remember talking about guys like Teemu Selanne earlier this year, and I guess Jaromir Jagr is another guy you’d throw in that boat of the all-time greats. Nick Lidstrom, guys like that,” Toews said. “When they’re not playing anymore, you remember the chances you had to play against them or with them or whatever and realize it’s a special honor.”
However, Toews isn’t necessarily starstruck playing against future Hall of Famers. When it comes to opposing Jagr in the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, the memories of wearing No. 68 and playing with that Koho stick will be long gone from Toews’ mind.
“It doesn’t take away from the competition or competitive nature you have against those guys. You always wanna prove yourself regardless of their age, and I’m really going to try and take it to him [Wednesday].”