Jun 11, 2013, 10:48 AM EDT
Kladno of the Czech Republic has produced quite a few NHL players, but none have enjoyed more success than Jaromir Jagr.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik is another native of Kladno and spent his youth idolizing the hometown hero as he worked to someday follow in Jagr’s footsteps.
“Right now we know the Cup will be going to my hometown, so that’s a good thing,” Frolik told CSN Chicago.
Frolik first made it to the Czech League’s Kladno during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. That’s the only time the two players appeared on the same team roster. However, Frolik gained the nickname “The Baby Jagr” during his brief tenure with Kladno and initially wore Jagr’s number when he attended the Florida Panthers’ rookie camp.
Now Frolik has 349 career NHL games under his belt, although he’s still over 1,000 contests behind Jagr.
“It’s kind of unbelievable he’s still playing at this level,” Frolik said. “He’s a great player and he proved it (over) so many years. Even now he’s pretty great and we have to be careful with him.”
Jagr isn’t Frolik’s only connection to the Boston Bruins. He’s also familiar with fellow Czech forward David Krejci.
“I played with Krejci in (juniors) one year in the same line so I’m very familiar with him and I know he’s a very good skill player,” Frolik said, referencing their time together with the QMJHL Gatineau Olympiques.
Although Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Frolik wasn’t a part of that squad. This is an opportunity for him to lift the trophy for the first time — but he’ll have to best his idol to do it.
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