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Jaromir Jagr receives Czech Medal of Merit

Nov 4, 2010, 2:02 PM EDT

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jagrhonored

Some of my fondest early memories as a hockey fan revolve around Jaromir Jagr and his flowing mullet.

While he may never play another shift in the NHL (and probably doesn’t have the same luscious mullet, at least last time I checked), his impact on the game cannot be ignored.

He’s not yet retired from hockey, yet he’s already beginning to receive high honors for his puck-related pursuits.

NHL.com passes along news that Jagr received a rare award for Czech-born citizens, something that doesn’t happen for athletes very often. In fact, he’s only the fourth hockey player to receive this honor from his country.

Former NHL forward Jaromir Jagr became the 12th athlete to receive a Medal of Merit, given annually by the Czech president on that country’s Independence Day, Oct. 28.

According to the Nov. 3 edition of the Prague Post, Jagr was the only athlete in the 22-member group of recipients selected by President Václav Klaus this year.

“I never thought I could receive such an honor. It’s a great privilege for me,” Jagr said in the paper.

Former NHL goalie Dominik Hasek, former NHL coach Ivan Hlinka and Czech Olympian Augustin Bubnik are the only other hockey players to earn the award.

Congratulations to Jagr, a player who by my estimation, was one of the best forwards of his generation.

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