With the 2019 Hockey Hall Of Fame Weekend having come to a close on Sunday November 17th, people have started to turn their attention towards next year’s potential class of inductees. Every year, new people become eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and next year, nobody seems more deserving than hockey legend Jarome Iginla. Iginla retired from his playing career after the 2016-17 season and last played in the National Hockey League while having done so for the Los Angeles Kings.
He has had an illustrious career that spanned in the NHL for 20 seasons. He is most well known for his time with the Calgary Flames where he made his debut in the league and spent 16 seasons. He served as the captain of the Flames for nine seasons (including a season where he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins) and wore the “A” for four seasons prior to being named captain.
Throughout his storied career, Jarome Iginla has won pretty much every major award that you could possibly think of. However, there is one major gap in his cupboard, this being the obvious Stanley Cup ring. Iginla reached the postseason eight times throughout his career and reached the Stanley Cup Finals once in that span with the Flames.
Despite leading the playoffs with a total of 13 goals, the Flames lost in the Finals, dropping the series to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite never winning hockey’s most prized trophy, Iginla is a lock for the Hall Of Fame.
Jarome Iginla is perhaps best known for his elite goal-scoring abilities. He scored at an elite level in the dead scoring era of the National Hockey League. Iginla scored 30 or more goals at least 12 times throughout his NHL career. Additionally, the 42-year-old scored at least 20 goals 17 times in the NHL.
Iginla is a two-time 50 goal scorer, scoring 52 goals in 2001-2002. He also scored 50 goals during the 2007-2008 NHL season. The Canadian right-winger would finish his career with 625 career NHL goals which to this day ranks tied with Joe Sakic as the 16th highest goal total in NHL history. The fact that Iginla did this in an era that saw a decrease in goal scoring makes his historic goal totals all the more impressive.
Since his days in the WHL, Iginla has been a superstar. Throughout his three-year career in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, Iginla recorded 236 points in 183 games in south-central British Columbia. These numbers were mainly consistent of 102 goals and 134 assists.
He won two WHL championships in his three-year tenure and won two Memorial Cup championships as well. In his junior career, Iginla was named as the CHL’s Memorial Cup most sportsmanlike player, this seeing him named to both the WHL and CHL first All-Star team. Iginla also received the Four Broncos Trophy, being named the WHL Player Of The Year. Since 2007-2008, he has been a franchise owner of the Kamloops Blazers, a role which he still holds today.
During his career, Iginla was selected to be a part of Canada’s National Team, receiving seven invites at various showcases and different tournaments at a selection of levels. He was a member of Team Canada at the U18 Nations Cup, the U20 World Junior Championships, the World Championships, the World Cup and the Canadian Olympic team three times. On five different occasions, the Edmonton native helped lead Team Canada to the gold medal victory. This includes wins at the U20 World Junior Championship in 1995-1996, the World Championship in 1996-1997, the Olympics in 2001-2002 and 2009-2010 and the World Cup in 2003-2004.
At the Olympics in 2009-2010, Iginla helped Canada advance to the finals where he is famous for assisting Sidney Crosby’s golden goal which handed Canada the gold medal victory. At the same time, he recorded the most goals at the Olympics that year, recording five.
Throughout his NHL career, Iginla was a two-time Maurice Richard Trophy recipient which is awarded to the player with the most goals throughout the course of the regular season. He took home the Art Ross Trophy in 2001-2002 which was the year that he won one of his two Maurice Richard trophies while also receiving the Ted Lindsay Award as the league’s MVP as voted by the NHLPA. In addition to his goal-scoring awards, his sportsmanlike and leadership abilities on and off the ice were recognized on numerous occasions.
For the way he presented himself as a person, Iginla won the Mark Messier Leadership Award, the King Clancy Trophy (Humanitarian Of The Year) while also being named recipient of the NHL Foundation player Award.
Of all players who were active at the same time as Jarome Iginla, only Joe Thornton and Jaromir Jagr have more points than the Canadian right-winger. However, nobody has played more games or scored more goals than Iginla did throughout his career. His 1,554 games and 625 goals are the highest total of any player to hit the ice over the span of Iginla’s career. As well, he is one of only 20 players to score 600+ goals in the National Hockey League.
Out of all the first-year eligibles for the 2020 Hall of Fame induction class, Jarome Iginla is the biggest name on the list and is the only one who truly looks like a lock for the Hall Of Fame. His goal-scoring abilities and records are some of the best in the history of the sport and what he has done for his country through international play has been essential for Canada’s success on the world’s biggest stage over the course of his career.