Hallmark Hockey Greats, 2001
Hallmark continued it’s series of NHL player ornaments in 2001 with Jaromir Jagr. Although the box states that this is the “fifth and final” ornament in the series, there was actually two ornaments released in 2001 — Jagr and teammate Mario Lemeiux. Here, Jagr is decked out in the Pittsburgh Penguins road uniform. For a holiday ornament, this is actually a pretty cool-looking keepsake, due to the high level of sculpted and painted detail lavished on this figure.
The back of the ornament’s box gives a short biography about the Penguins captain:
When he was just six years old, Jaromir Jagr was enrolled by his father in three hockey leagues: one for six-year-olds, one for eight-year-olds, and another for ten-year-olds. Jagr, who was born in 1972 in Kladno, Czechoslovakia, soon had three dreams: to play for his city, to play for his country, and to play for the NHL – “the best hockey in the world.”
By age 16, Jagr was playing for his hometown team. In 1990 he attended the NHL entry draft — the first Czech player to do so without defecting. Jagr was the first-round choice of the Pittsburgh Penguins and helped his team win two Stanley Cup championships (1991, 1992). Finally, in 1998, he was a member of the Czech Republic’s Olympic gold medal-winning team.
What the biography does not mention is that, at the time this ornament was released, Jagr was a member of the Washington Capitals. Oops! Jagr was traded to the Capitals in July 2001. Perhaps production was too far underway to paint Jagr as a member of the Capitals. Or maybe Hallmark figured that no one of sound mind would actually buy a Washington Capitals ornament. Either way, this ornament was a bit of an anachronism.
Under Jagr’s biography is a photo of the sculptor, John “Collin” Francis.
Likeness 3 out of 5
Like the previous Hallmark hockey ornaments, the likeness looks just too young to be the player the ornament is supposedly depicting. Facially, it does kind of look like a very young Jagr — maybe as a rookie from 1990, but not as a team captain who was pushing 30 in 2001.
That would be forgivable if the figure had the famous “Jagr mullet” coming out of the back of the helmet, but alas, this ornament does not. A little more hair would have gone a long way in making the likeness better.
Unlike the previous two ornaments of Eric Lindros and Gordie Howe, the Jagr ornament will not stand up on its own. Technically, it can stand up, but it would be tipped pretty far to the left, with most of the weight on the stick — which bends very easily under pressure. So, standing this up on a shelf really is not an option.
First and foremost, Jagr’s helmet includes a visor that is even curves upward near his nose. Hallmark could have easily ignored the fact that Jagr wears a visor — like Kenner did with their Starting Lineup figures — but went the extra mile to keep things accurate.
Gloss paint is used on parts that should be shiny, like Jagr’s helmet, skates and stick. His gloves are shiny too, which seems odd but I won’t question it. Other painted details are superb, like the stripes on the socks and outlines around the uniform numbers on the back and sleeves, as well as around the captain’s “C.”
If the likeness was done better — and yes, I specifically mean if Jagr had his trademark mullet — and if the figure could stand on its own, this would easily be a “5.” It looks better than any Starting Lineup figure made, and could almost rival a McFarlane SportsPicks figure. But the detail on this Hallmark Keepsake Ornament still looks great, and hanging this Penguin from your tree looks way cooler than a glass sphere or gingerbread man.
Year of release: 2001
Original retail price: $15.95 U.S.A. / $20.95 Canada
Approximate Size: About 5″ tall
Sculptor: John “Collin” Francis