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Jarome Iginla inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

St. Albert immortalized Iginla by renaming the Akinsdale Arena after him in 2018. The Calgary Flames did something similar that same year by raising his iconic #12 to the rafters, ensuring no player would ever wear his number for the team again. 
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St. Albert great Jarome Iginla was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021 on Nov. 15, 2021. Here he is pictured skating for the Calgary Flames during a 2010 edition of the Battle of Alberta. FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

St. Albert NHL legend Jarome Iginla was among the latest round of recipients to enter the prestigious Hockey Hall of Fame last week.

Joining Iginla in the hockey player category for the 2021 class are fellow NHLers Kevin Lowe, Marian Hossa, and Doug Wilson, as well as Canadian women’s hockey star Kim St. Pierre. This was Iginla’s first year of eligibility, making him a "first ballot" hall-of-famer. 

There was clear emotion in Iginla's voice as he went up on stage in Toronto to accept his induction on Monday, Nov. 15. 

“Once I started playing with St. Albert Minor Hockey at age seven, I was hooked and wanted to be a hockey player,” said Iginla in Toronto. “To be in the hall of fame ... I never even imagined it.” 

His father, Elvis Iginla, came from Nigeria, a country where hockey is not often a sport played by its youth, while his mother, Susan Schuchard, was from the United States. Little did they know, when Iginla was born in Edmonton back in 1977, hockey would become a mainstay in their lives. 

Iginla spoke of his road to NLH super stardom. He first played hockey in St. Albert when he was seven years old. He went on to play a pair of seasons with the U15 AAA Sabres in 1991/92 and the U18 AAA Raiders in 1992/93, over the course of which he scored a whopping 139 points in 68 games. 

From there he left St. Albert and headed to Kamloops to play minor hockey with the Blazers. In his induction speech, he had kind words for his billet families and teammates. 

“I’m grateful for generous and kind billets and getting to play with some amazing veteran teammates,” said Iginla in Toronto. “They were determined and focused at a very impressionable age.”  

After a tour of three seasons with the Blazers, Iginla made his way to the big leagues. Originally drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in 1995, he was traded to the Calgary Flames before he had ever played a game in the NHL. From there, his NHL journey began. 

He played 16 of his 22 NHL seasons in Calgary where he cemented himself as one of the top players to step on the ice. He spent 13 of those 16 seasons as part of the Flames leadership group. 

Iginla acquired an impressive trophy case over this time. He was the NHL’s leading goal-scorer twice, capturing the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy in 2002 and 2004, and led the league in scoring once, winning the Art Ross Trophy in 2002. The only major awards he evaded were the Stanley Cup, coming just a win away in 2004, and the Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP, despite being nominated three separate times. 

Iginla said he will remember his time in Calgary fondly. 

“I spent 16 wonderful years of my career and life in Calgary with the Flames from age 18 to 35,” said Iginla in Toronto. “Thank you to that organization, to ownership, for treating my family so well, and to an amazing city and to the amazing Flames fans.”

He played with the Flames until being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013. He played four more seasons in the NHL, mainly with the Colorado Avalanche, before hanging up his skates for good in 2018. 

Apart from his NHL career, Iginla is equally as remembered for his international career with Team Canada. He has a completely separate trophy case dedicated to his international accolades, including a World Junior Championship gold medal in 1996 and two Olympic gold medals from 2002 and 2010. 

While accepting his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Iginla recounted one of his best memories from his international career — when he assisted on Sidney Crosby’s gold-medal winning overtime goal against the United States during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. 

“One of my all-time favourite memories and thrills in hockey was being on the ice for Sid’s 2010 goal in overtime,” said Iginla. “It was truly, truly awesome to do it on home soil.” 

St. Albert immortalized Iginla by renaming the Akinsdale Arena after him in 2018. The Calgary Flames did something similar that same year by raising his iconic #12 to the rafters, ensuring no player would ever wear his number for the team again. 

“I dreamt and imagined how great it would be, the cities and countries I would see, the arenas and players, I would like to thank God for all his blessings ... it has been even better than I’ve ever dreamt.” 


About the Author: Preston Hodgkinson

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