There might not be a name more synonymous with the Calgary Flames than Jarome Iginla.
A fantastic representative for not only the team, but all of hockey, he spent the first 16 seasons of his legendary career in Cowtown. During that time, he played 1,219 regular season contests, scored 525 goals and collected 1,095 points. Those three totals remain franchise records. On top of that, he won two Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies and an Art Ross Trophy while in the red, yellow and orange.
Fans won’t remember him only for those things, though. They aren’t what make Jarome Iginla’s career what it was — his kindness and competitive spirit are.
Those two things were highlighted during his jersey retirement ceremony before Calgary’s clash with the Minnesota Wild at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday. The reaction of the fans in attendance said plenty when he was welcomed to the ice.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 3, 2019
And although he had done countless things to leave his mark on the team, everyone wanted to talk and hear about the magical run that he led the Flames on in the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“He went from superstar to legendary status in Calgary,” said former teammate Craig Conroy during his speech about Iginla and that special season.
Just 26 years old at the time and wearing the ‘C’ for the squad, he helped lead the Flames, the sixth seed in the Western Conference, to the Finals. It was there that he had his iconic fight with Vincent Lecavalier, the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the first period of Game 3.
That tilt in the scoreless match gave his side a boost and he’d go on to score the final goal in a 3-0 victory for the Flames. Tampa Bay won the series in seven games, but Iginla’s performance during that postseason will never be forgotten.
He led all playoff scorers with 13 goals and was willing to do whatever necessary to ensure his side came out on top. That’s just the type of player that he was.
“He was going to do anything to change the tide,” Conroy said to Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun recently.
The Flames wanted to make sure that Iginla knew what they meant to them with an eight-minute video tribute.
Iginla wasn’t just incredible on the ice, though. He was always the guy journalists would go to after games for a genuine quote and was very involved in the community. As an advocate for KidSport Calgary, which raises funds to remove the financial barriers that prevent kids from participating in sport, he contributed almost $800,000 towards the organization during his time in the city. To further this charitable work, the team decided to donate $50,000 more to KidSport Calgary in his name.
Then, the moment everyone was waiting for finally happened.
That No. 12 looks right at home up there, doesn’t it?
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