Veteran forward Jarome Iginla is the newest Colorado Avalanche alternate captain, the team announced on Wednesday.
"It's a great honor. It's a privilege, especially with this group of young guys," Iginla said after the day's practice at Family Sports Center. "It is going to be fun, and I look forward to helping out where I can. I'm excited about it."
|Jarome Iginla |
Iginla joins fellow alternate captain Cody McLeod and team captain Gabriel Landeskog as the Avs players that will don letters on the front of their jerseys this season. Landeskog is entering his third season with the 'C' on his chest while McLeod is in his second season with the 'A.'
The Avalanche signed Iginla to a three-year contract on July 1, and the Edmonton, Alberta native is no stranger to wearing a captain's patch as he enters in 18th NHL campaign. The 37-year-old spent nine of his 16 seasons (2003-2013) with the Calgary Flames as their team captain and was an alternate captain for the club in the three seasons previous (2000-2003). Iginla has also worn the 'A' several times in international play with Team Canada.
"He has a lot of experience, and he'll certainly help our younger guys," Avs head coach Patrick Roy said of adding Iginla to the club's leadership group.
Roy had reached out to Iginla before training camp to see if the right wing would be interested in being one of the team's alternate captains, but Iginla wanted to get to know his new teammates first and think about the offer throughout the preseason before he made a decision.
After giving it some thought, Iginla notified Roy on Tuesday that he would be honored to wear one of the Avs' 'As.'
"As you get older it is still an honor and a privilege, but you also realize with this group of young guys, there is so much more to team leadership then 'Cs' and 'As,'" Iginla said. "[There are] lots of young guys that lead on this team that I could already see in training camp. … It's going to be fun to be with the group and to be a part of the leadership group."
NHL Rule 6 states that only three players during a game may wear a captain's letter—with teams having one team captain and two alternate captains or just three alternate captains—but as Iginla learned, there are plenty of players on the Avalanche roster that have strong leadership qualities, both young and old.
Adding veteran players with previous playoff experience and leadership were one of the areas that Colorado executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic targeted in the offseason, and he said they accomplished that with the acquisitions of Iginla, Daniel Briere and Brad Stuart.
"The more leaders you have in a dressing room, the better off you're going to be," said Sakic before training camp on Sept. 18. "We (Roy and him) don't want to go back to when we played, but we had a dressing room full of leaders. This year, our nucleus, our core guys are still fairly young, but they are leaders. Bringing in some guys that have won—you add Iginla, you add Stuart, you add Briere who is a proven playoff player—you add these guys to your lineup and you go through adverse times, they are going to help everybody out."
The three newcomers will make their official Avalanche debut and Iginla will wear the team's alternate captain patch for the first time on Thursday night in Colorado's season opener at the Minnesota Wild.
Story updated Oct. 8, 2014 at 11:15 p.m. eastern time.