On July 30th, longtime Calgary Flame and future hall-of-famer Jarome Iginla will announce his retirement from the game after 20 seasons in the National Hockey League. Although he never had won the Stanley Cup, there’s no doubt that the other achievements he had earned are nothing short of spectacular. As the 30th makes its way around, let’s look back on the great career of Jarome Iginla.
After playing three years in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, Iginla made his NHL debut in the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs for the Calgary Flames, becoming the first 18-year-old to play for Calgary since 1983 (Dan Quinn). In 1997, he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team after having played all 82 regular season games where he scored 21 goals to go alongside 29 assists, leading all other rookies. After winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard (leading goal scorer), Art Ross (leading point scorer), Lester B. Pearson (MVP as voted by players) as well as being named a first team All-Star in 2002, Jarome Iginla was awarded the Flames captaincy at the start of ’03-’04 season.
In 2004, the Flames managed to lock up a spot in the playoffs, Calgary’s first postseason appearance in 8 years dating back to April 16th of 1997. As he led all playoff scorers with 13 goals, Iginla took Calgary to their first Stanley Cup Finals in 15 years, however they would end up with the loss after falling in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In 2006, he reached career milestones, scoring his 300th career goal and 600th career point against the Minnesota Wild on December 7th. Almost a year later, on November 29th, 2007, he broke the Flames’ record for most games played with 804. In the same season, on March 10th, 2008, he broke the Flames’ goal-scoring record by scoring 365.
That year, though not a winner, he was nominated as a Hart Trophy finalist. He would then go on to pass Theoren Fleury as the Flames’ all-time scoring leader on March 1st, 2009 with five points recorded that night which included his 400th career goal.
Moving onwards to the 2012 season, Iginla scored his 500th career goal on January 7th against head coach Bruce Boudreau and the Minnesota Wild. After having achieved such a feat, he became the 42nd player in league history and 15th in Thrasher/Flames history to do so. After playing a few seasons with both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins, he was able to record his 600th career assist on February 4th, 2014 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche against the Los Angeles Kings.
Having hit such a momentous number, Iginla became only the 19th player in history to achieve the incredible feat. In December of that year, he would go on to take part in his 1, 500th career game, becoming only the 16th player to not only reach this milestone but hit this illustrious point of their professional tenure playing hockey. After an attempt to win a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2017, he decided to hang up the cleats after just merely coming short of a clinching spot in the playoffs.
If you total up the amount of both awards and achievements Jarome Iginla has won over the years he has been an active member of the NHL, it would most definitely bring the length to a greater number and extent, even if he never claimed a Stanley Cup championship during the time in which he served. Recognized as an icon in Calgary as well as one of the best players to have ever played the game, Iginla rightfully deserves to have his name hung up in the Hockey Hall of Fame in the near future ahead. After 20 hard-fought years in the National Hockey League, Iginla is officially calling it quits on Monday July 30th and we all can’t thank him enough for not only his contributions to not only the game on the ice but the memories made off the ice with fans to last a lifetime.