To nobody’s surprise, Jarome Iginla’s No. 12 will soon hang in the rafters in Calgary.
On Thursday, the Flames officially announced plans to retire Iginla’s jersey number later this year. The team will hold a ceremony prior to their March 2 game against the Minnesota Wild.
“It’s humbling, a huge honour, a thrill and to be honest, a little bit surreal,” said Iginla in a press release. “I am extremely grateful to the Flames ownership and organization for bestowing this tribute on me and my family.
“I’m looking forward to it but I don’t know what to expect or how I’ll handle my emotions. I’m obviously very excited but I think now that my kids are really into hockey and the NHL that it’s going to be so neat to share it with my family. To have them there, and friends, alumni and of course with the fans will really make the day special.”
Iginla officially retired from the NHL last summer, closing the book on an incredible 20-year career. He walked away ranked 16th all-time in games played (1,554) and his 625 career goals currently rank 15th all-time — also the most in the NHL since the start of the 1996-97 season, his first in the NHL.
Though he wrapped up his career by bouncing around several teams, including the Penguins, Bruins, Avalanche and Kings, he’ll most fondly be remembered as one of the Calgary Flames’ most iconic stars.
The Flames legend spent 16 seasons in Calgary and is the franchise’s all-time goals (525) and points (1,095) leader. He hit the 30-goal mark 11 times in Calgary, including a career-best 52-goal campaign in 2001-02 that earned him the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer.
In 2003, Iginla was named the 18th captain in Flames history, becoming the first black player to serve as team captain in NHL history. He went on to win his second Rocket Richard trophy with 42 goals during the regular season, then led the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final. Though the Flames finished as runner-up, Iginla led all players in goals that postseason with 13 in 26 games.
He never won a Stanley Cup but did capture two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in 2002 and 2010.
Considering his incredible resume and status as a beloved figure in Calgary, it should come as absolutely no surprise that Iginla will soon take his place among the greats in the rafters at the Saddledome. His Hall of Fame induction shouldn’t be too far away, either.
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