When Michael Frolik was born, Jaromir Jagr was 16 years old. Both were living in Czechoslovakia, but one was in diapers and the other was playing at the highest level of hockey.
By the time Frolik laced his first pair of skates, Jagr had been drafted fifth overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He became the poster boy for athletes in his hometown of Kladno as he supported the Penguins in their back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in 1991 and 1992.
Back at home, Jagr was worshiped by young hockey players who hoped to someday experience the success he was seeing. Among that group of young worshipers was Frolik.
"(Jagr) was from (the) same home town. When I was little, he was a big star at home, for sure he was my idol," Frolik said.
While playing in Kladno, Frolik was nicknamed "The Baby Jagr" and even wore No. 68 during his rookie camp with the Florida Panthers at the start of his North American career. But now his idol has turned into his opponent as Frolik and the Blackhawks prepare to face Jagr and the Bruins on the NHL's biggest stage. But Frolik is looking forward to the hometown matchup as he competes with Jagr and fellow Czech skater, David Krejci.
"Right now we know the Cup will be going to my hometown, so that's a good thing," Frolik said." I know Jagr and 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."
Jagr began his career back in 1984 playing juniors in Kladno, and today he's still one of the league's most talented players. As a young child, Frolik looked up to Jagr, and although he's also reached the NHL, Frolik still has plenty of reasons to look up to the league veteran.
"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."