Former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla announces his retirement from the NHL, after playing 20 seasons, at a news conference in Calgary on Monday, July 30, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A star for Canada, ‘Iggy’ retires after 20 NHL seasons

Jarome Iginla officially retired Monday in Calgary, where he led the Flames to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final

Jarome Iginla shed no tears, but generated laughs Monday as one of the NHL’s premiere power forwards closed the book on a 20-year career.

The 41-year-old entertained a packed news conference at Scotiabank Saddledome, where he spent 16 seasons as a Calgary Flame and almost a decade as captain, with funny stories and his heartfelt love of hockey.

“I was very fortunate to have a very blessed career,” Iginla said.

He bade farewell with the charisma and graciousness that made him a loved player in Calgary and admired throughout league.

That congeniality was always in contrast, however, to his feared fierceness on the ice.

“If we needed a fight, if we needed a big hit, if we needed a big goal, he was there to do it,” said his former Flames linemate Craig Conroy, now Calgary’s assistant general manager.

“For about three or four years, I don’t think there was a better player in the NHL. I think at times we did take him for granted.

“To know he’s going to retire a Calgary Flame today is pretty special.”

READ MORE: Jarome Iginla to retire in Calgary

Iginla’s 625 career goals ties him with Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Sakic for 15th in NHL history. An assist in his final game April 9, 2017, with the Los Angeles Kings gives him an even 1,300 points in 1,554 games.

But few players have impacted a franchise the way Iginla did in Calgary, where he played from 1996 to 2013.

He’s the franchise leader in goals (525), points (1,095), games played (1,219) and game-winning goals (83).

“Even though I was from Edmonton, nobody held it against me,” Iginla said. “To get to play in Alberta was a real treat.”

Iginla twice scored 50 goals in a season for the Flames, surpassed 40 goals four times and reached the 30-goal mark 11 times.

He led the Flames to the Stanley Cup final in 2004, when Calgary lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But a Cup eluded Iginla in what will be a Hockey Hall of Fame career. The Flames didn’t come close again during his tenure.

Calgary was about to miss the playoffs a fourth straight season when he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in March of 2013.

Iginla played for Boston, Colorado and Los Angeles to finish out his career.

He underwent hip surgery in 2017. Iginla skated with a minor pro team in February to test both his hip and the market for a possible return.

“It’s not easy quitting and I found one of the hardest things was I always dreamed about being part of a winner and winning a Stanley Cup,” he said.

“It took me a few days or a week when you realize you’re not going to get that chance and that dream is not going to come true, but I have so many things to be thankful for.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Most Read