On Monday, Jarome Iginla officially retired from the game of hockey. From the life of hockey.
Iginla formally retired in Calgary, where he played for the Flames from 1996 to 2013. And it was apparent that this was no ordinary career for the 41-year-old. Or for any of us who had the pleasure to watch him through the years.
“My grandpa took me to my first tryout at age seven and we didn’t know there were no jerseys or socks handed out,” said Iginla. “So I skated around and everyone had their outfits on and were good players and I’m skating around with no jersey or socks. My grandpa had to run and get me a jersey from the sports store in St. Albert and he brought back one I wasn’t that thrilled to get – it was a Calgary Flames jersey.”
Initially, the Edmonton-born Iginla may not have wanted to suit up for the Flames.
But now, Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla couldn’t be more proud of suiting up at the Saddledome. Or of winning two Memorial Cups with Kamloops. Or two Olympic gold medals.
The list goes on.
The accolades are impressive, to say the least, and Iginla is an assured Hall of Fame player. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy twice, was a three-time first team All-Star. He won the Ted Lindsay Award in 2002. He’s tied for 15th in NHL history in goal-scoring. He’s one of just 13 players to have scored at least 30 goals in a dozen seasons.
Yes, the list goes on.
It took him perhaps until 2002 to really make his mark. That was when Wayne Gretzky invited him to Team Canada’s summer camp for the Olympic squad. That was when Iginla thought it was a prank. And that was when Iginla scored two goals to secure the 5-2 victory over the United States to snag Canada the gold medal.
By 2004, Iggy won another gold medal with Team Canada. This time, it was the World Cup of Hockey and he was on a line with Mario Lemieux and Joe Sakic. Not bad company.
Iginla didn’t spend his whole NHL career with the Flames, of course. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013, but things didn’t pan out. Iginla was eventually picked up by the Boston Bruins, the team that almost landed him prior to the Pittsburgh trade, and he scored another 30 goals in his single season there.
Colorado was his next stop and Iginla spent close to three seasons there before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings didn’t re-sign him for the 2017-2018 season and that closed the book for good.
To say Jarome Iginla had enjoyed a storied career would be an understatement. And to say that we’ve enjoyed watching his storied career is, too, an understatement.