Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jaromir Jagr: New York Nyet, Siberia Da ...

Avangard Omsk: Siberian Hockey TeamJaromir Jagr has decided to play professional hockey in Siberia rather than New York. The kicker is that he's going to make more money playing in Siberia than in the Big Apple. Once upon a time getting exiled to the 'Eastern Front' was the end of the line; the gateway to hell. Write home and mail your obituary before you get on that trans-Siberian railroad. Now Siberia has become the end of the rainbow with a pot of gold waiting in the pasture for an aging NHL legend.

Newsday reported:
Less than 24 hours after Jaromir Jagr was told that the Rangers couldn't wait any longer to try to negotiate a new deal, the 36-year-old Czech right winger signed a lucrative two-year contract to play for Avangard Omsk, a Russian team that is part of the new Continental Hockey League.

No terms were disclosed Friday, but the offer is believed to be the equivalent of $7 million U.S., tax-free, per season to play in Omsk, where Jagr had skated in the former Russian Super League during the NHL lockout in 2004-05. The team's general manager, Anatoly Bardin, had been publicly wooing Jagr since March...
The Siberian team, Avangard Omsk, offer of $7 million U.S., tax-free, per season for two years was superior to the reported New York Rangers offer of $6 million for one year, which would have been triple taxed (federal, state, & city). Also, which city do you suspect has a higher cost of living? reported
: That if Jagr does suit up for Avangard Omsk, he could be playing alongside one of the future stars of the Rangers, 19 year-old Alexei Cherepanov. Also signed to the team are longtime NHL goaltender John Grahame and Jakub Klepis, former first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators.

The Avangard Omsk team is based in Omsk. Omsk is the 7th largest city in Russia with a population of 1,134,016. It is a little smaller than the 9th largest US city, Dallas, which has a population of 1,213,825. Omsk is in southwest Siberia and it is the administrative center of Omsk Oblast (Russian federal region). It is the second-largest city in Russia beyond the Urals. The distance from Omsk to Moscow is 2,700 kilometres (1,700 miles). The city is much closer to Mongolia than Moscow. Omsk is also the administrative center of the Siberian Cossacks (that would be a good team name). It is about 65 miles from the border with Kazakhstan.

Jaromir Jagr will play hockey in Omsk, in Siberia Russia
The Avangard Omsk hockey team plays in the Omsk Arena, which was newly built in 2007 and seats 10,000. The team is partly financed by Russian oil company Gazprom Neft, but the majority of its budget reportedly comes from province (Omsk Oblast) tax money. That would help explain why Jagr's salary is tax-free. He will be on the public payroll.

Avangard, which translates to "advance guard" in English, was established in 1950. The logo features a stylised hawk. The club has changed names several times, with previous names including Spartak Omsk, Aeroflot Omsk, Kauchuk Omsk, Khimik Omsk, and Shinnik Omsk. Avangard Omsk won the Russian Super League in 2004.

Avangard is now in the Continental Hockey League. The Continental Hockey League, commonly abbreviated KHL, is a new open international ice hockey league with 24 teams spread across Russia, Latvia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The KHL replaced the Russian Super League (RSL) after the 2007–2008 RSL season. The championship trophy of the league is the Gagarin Cup, which is named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.

Omsk Arena seats 10,000
Jaromir Jagr will not be the last NHL player to be wooed to the new Eastern Front. Some have suggested that the KHL might give the NHL some competition.

Pro Fantasy Sport:
NHL--Skating Across the Pond -- Over the last several months, the new KHL league in Russia has been viewed as a potential threat to the NHL, as several Russian teams banked by powerful owners are all trying to land that “big star” from the NHL - ala Bobby Hull’s conversion to the WHL in the early 1970’s. The belief was that many players would eventually follow and cause an influx of players jumping the pond to play overseas as another option. That possibility has always existed, but not to the extent it is now, as the KHL league can offer contracts that rival NHL salaries. So far, the impact has not been as big as many suspected, but last week the KHL may have landed its biggest coup to date with Jaromir Jagr singing an offer sheet believed to be in the neighborhood of $8-10 million per season... / Snapshots:
Assessing the KHL threat -- Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek after the NHL Entry Draft concluded in Ottawa, and the two discussed the threat that the follow-on to the Russian Superleague, the "Kontinental Hockey League" (it's a K in Russian as there C = S in Cyrillic), poses to the NHL's best players...

AOL Fanhouse:
KHL Ready to Declare Player War on NHL -- From time to time, FanHouse has the distinct pleasure of getting English translations of stories that appear in the pages of Sovetsky Sport, Russia's leading sports newspaper, courtesy of Sovetsky's Washington correspondent, Dmitry Chesnokov. Most recently, we obtained the following translation of a story that will appear in tomorrow's edition of Sovetsky, an interview of Gennady Velichkin, the general director of Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, by Sovetsky reporter Pavel Lysenkov...

Anyway, Good Luck! J.J. -- udAchi! ---Удачи! (Russian for good luck)

The Ranger Pundit is in a Round 1 Battle Of The Blogosphere over at "" Someone forgot to tell Mike to lace up his skates - just found out about the contest that apparently started several days ago.

The Ranger Pundit is also getting hammered in the first period by our opponent, The Rivalry, blog. It's an NY Islander/Rangers oriented blog with a lot of support over at 'The NHL Arena." It looks like we'll have to pull the goalie soon or do something drastic (sorry, no flopping allowed) if The Ranger Pundit is going to have a chance.

Our opponent, Bryan, is pandering for votes. But, the Pundit will keep skating to where the puck is going to be, not where it is, and leave the pandering to those fellows running for higher office.

Related Articles by Categories


  • The Dark Ranger said...

    Maybe Jags can become part of our missle defense shield? The US Government could probably pay more money for his services and knowing Jags, he'll go where the money is!!!??? Perfect location.


  • jb said...

    Image this scenario. Bettman takes the Rangers away from Dolan/Cablevision. Puts them up for auction. Mike Bloomberg buys the team and then donates it to the City of New York. The Rangers then belong to the people of NY. The mayor then gets to appoint the coach and GM. Just like any other public service job.

    Is that a nightmare scenario or something better? The Green Bay Packers NHL football team is owned by Green Bay Packers, Inc., which has 111,967 stockholders, most of whom are residents of Green Bay.

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    jb...somehow the Dolans would get Bloomberg to buy the NHL and REALLY show Bettman who is boss. lol.

    taking a little time off and gave you & mike s little shoutout. Have a great summer fellas...see you in September.


  • blow-me-down said...

    I've forgotten all about the NHL versus NYR thing, though it wasn't that long ago. Is there litigation pending? The scenario painted by JB sounds movie-worthy, and definitely should star Will Smith as Bettman.

    Lots of interesting stuff about the KHL about these days, thanks for the links Mike. They really do seem to have payback on their agenda. Obviously their national pride as a top hockey power creates a conflict when they think that they have been considered a farm team for the NHL.

    I still don't know how they can carry it off financially, though I haven't looked at what an entry level lunch bucket player earns.

    No probs, Will Smith will sort it out!

  • jb said...


    Thanks for the shout out and enjoy the summer, q-time, and hockey camp. I think we'll all be going easy this summer.

    I's hard to believe with the small arena's like the 10,0000 at Omsk Arena etc. that they make big money. But, I think it's the petro-rubles and the Russian billionaires who are looking for a hobby that will catapult the KHL to near parity with the NHL.

    Also factor in the weakening US dollar and the title of best hockey league might be moving East in a few years. What do Russians have to do in the middle of Winter?

    Have a great summer, all.