Jaromir Jagr Impersonators, the "Travelling Jagrs," to Show at Panthers Games Next Week

A half-dozen guys from Calgary have made it their trademark to show up to hockey games in costume as Florida Panthers star forward Jaromir Jagr — more specifically, as the various incarnations of Jagr through the years as he's played for different teams, with various jerseys and various lengths of his famous mullet. 

Though the Travelling Jagrs are based in Canada, next week, they'll come cheer on their hero on his home ice for games Thursday, March 31, and Saturday, April 2. Jagr, age 44, has been sensational this season, breathing life into hockey in South Florida and spurring attendance at games. He recently moved into third place of all time for both points scored and goals scored. 

Trevor Freeman — who dresses up as the version of Jagr when he played for the Dallas Stars — explains that he and his childhood friends came up with the costume concept during a guys' trip to Vegas during Halloween. One year, they went in a group costume as "sexy NFL refs with really short shorts and high socks." As they planned the next year's costume, one of the guys thought of Jagr, who "had played for like 16 teams at that point." 

Soon they began attending hockey games in dress. They were caught on sports cameras at games, and over the past four years, they've become something of a phenomenon themselves. "Forbes voted us best fans in the NHL," Freeman says. They're reportedly huge in Jagr's home country, the Czech Republic. 

Last year, the Panthers brought the Travelling Jagrs to Sunrise for two games. "Panthers are such a fan-friendly organization," Freeman says.  The team has a lot of fun traditions, like throwing fake rats on the ice after a win or yelling "Luuuuuuuu" when goaltender Roberto Luongo keeps an offending puck out of the net. This year, the players have some kind of inside joke about actor Kevin Spacey, and after each game, the best player of that game gets to wear a "Spacey in Space" sweatshirt with Spacey on it. Last week, Spacey even showed up at a game. 

Freeman says of the Travelling Jagrs: "We've got our own pregame rituals." They help one another put on hockey pants and adjust one another's wigs. "Some have to wear garter belts to keep their hockey socks up," Freeman says. "The mullets are so itchy. I wear a shorter one. They take nothing but abuse."

The guys met their hero Jagr briefly once in Edmonton but generally keep their distance and stay respectful. "We try not to disrupt his rhythm. He needs to do certain things. We don't want to make it a complete circus. It's an homage that's a little removed from him." During games, they drink beers, provide peanut-gallery commentary, and pose for pictures with fans. 

Though it's all in good fun, Jagr's athleticism is serious. "We're fans of the guy for a reason, and he's definitely showing that right now," says Freeman. "The guy is so skilled and talented at the highest level... He kind of just dominates when he is out there." 

Freeman's also glad to see the superstar drawing more people into hockey — a game most Canadians appreciate. "No matter how bad a team is in Canada – for a team to be in the playoff run, the city goes crazy for it. Stands are filled, and jerseys are everywhere." So it's hard for them to understand when they see mostly empty hockey stadiums, like the Panthers suffered from during less-stellar years under previous owners. "We love the game so much," says Freeman "— the speed, the grace, and intensity. Once you've been part of it and really love it and get to see things, you can't stop watching." 

For more, follow the Travelling Jagrs on Twitter: @68isgr8