Yesterday, the legendary Calgary Flames' captain Jarome Iginla officially retired from hockey. His last NHL season he played for Los Angeles Kings, but had this special press conference at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, where he spent 16 seasons with the Flames and became an iconic player of this club.
Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla has Nigerian roots, his father Adekunle relocated to Canada from Nigeria, but Iginla's mother, Susan, is an American. Surname "Iginla" means "Big tree" in Youruba spoken in Nigeria.
As a teenager Jarome also played baseball as a catcher and even was a member of the Canadian national junior team, but later chosen ice hockey. He grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, and played in the Alberta Midget Hockey League. The last two seasons before being drafted by the Dallas Stars in 1995 Iginla played for the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL (in 2007 he became an owner of this team). Stars picked him 11th overall in the 1995 NHL Draft, but he didn't played any game in Dallas. For the 1995-1996 season Iginla stayed with Blazers in the WHL and had an amazing stats (136 points in 63 games), but in December 1995 Stars traded him along with Corey Millen to Calgary Flames for their captain Joe Nieuwendyk. Later Nieuwendyk helped Stars to win their only Stanley Cup, and Iginla became the face of the Calgary Flames franchise for two decades.
Jarome Iginla debuted in the NHL the same season he was traded, he played two playoff games and earned two points (1+1). In the next 16 years in Calgary he became a leader of the team, an iconic player, and in 2003 was named a captain of the Flames for the next nine years. Also in the NHL he played for Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings until the end of the 2016-17 season, but returned home to Calgary to announce retirement. In 20 Nhl seasons Iginla played 1554 games and scored 1300 points (625 goals and 675 assists). By the way his 600th goal Jarome scored against his last NHL team, Los Angeles Kings, and became the 19th player in the NHL history to score 600 goals in his career.
Jarome Iginla is a two-times WHL Champion with Kamloops Blazers, he won the Maurice Richard Trophy twice, won the Art Ross Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award, the King Clancy Trophy, the Mark Messier Leadership Award, was named to NHL All-Rookie Team in 1997, and played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, but never won the main hockey trophy. On the international level Iginla is a two-times Olympic Champion (2002 and 2010), World Cup Champion (2004) and World Champion (1997) with team Canada. In 2010 Iginla assisted Sidney Crosby for the "Golden Goal" in the final game of the Olympic Games in Vancouver.
The last season Iginla hadn't played in the League, he just practiced with the Providence Bruins (AHL), the affiliate of the Boston Bruins, but didn't received an offer from any NHL team. And yesterday 41-year-old forward announced his retirement with the Flames, where he played 16 great seasons. Iginla holds Flames' franchise records for goals (525), points (1095), games played (1219), game-winning goals (83) and power-play goals (161).
Iginla had a great career, a Hall of Fame career, and I'm sure he will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he's one of the greatest players who never won the Stanley Cup. And it's a pity.
Here's the farewell speech of Jarome Iginla:
His teammates and many other people said a lot of kind words and congratulated Iggy of such a wonderful career:
The captain, the legend. Jarome Iginla, forever a Flame!