Jarome Iginla spent most of his final three NHL seasons as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, and it seemed like everyone in the organization knew that the right wing was destined for a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame one day whenever he decided to hang up his skates.
That day is today, Wednesday, June 24, as Iginla was named part of the hall of fame's class of 2020 along with Marian Hossa, Doug Wilson, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre and Ken Holland (builder). The induction ceremony is currently tentatively scheduled for Nov. 16 in Toronto.
"This selection is hard to believe and makes me reflect and look back on my career," said Iginla in a release from the Hockey Hall of Fame. "I was always just trying to make the NHL and this recognition means a lot to me and my family."
Iginla had already cemented himself as one of the top players in the game when he signed a three-year contract with the Avalanche on July 1, 2014, his 37th birthday. At the time, he had already played more than 1,300 NHL games, was a member of the 500-goal club and had nearly 1,200 career points in his previous 17 campaigns, 15-plus of them spent as a member of the Calgary Flames.
In Colorado, Iginla was an alternate captain for the club and brought his soft-spoken leadership into a young locker room while continuing to play the tough, hard-nosed game that he had become known for in the league. He appeared in 225 regular-season contests for the Avs and finished with 124 points, recording 59 goals and 65 assists, along with 137 total penalty minutes.
"Jarome is a Hall of Fame person as well as a Hall of Fame player," said Colorado Avalanche executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic. "All of his accomplishments speak for themselves both with what he did in the NHL, including his time as a member of the Avalanche, and with Team Canada. Having the opportunity to play on a line with him at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City was a special memory and quickly made me realize not only what a great player he was but also what a great guy he was off the ice. Congrats to Iggy on an outstanding career and a well-deserved election to the Hockey Hall of Fame."
In his first season in Denver in 2014-15, he led the club with 29 goals and finished sharing the team lead with 59 points, becoming the oldest player in franchise history to lead the team in either category. In the final game of that campaign and moments after giving Colorado a 3-2 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks with his second goal of the night, his teammates were looking for him to complete the hat trick and reach the 30-goal mark, but time ran out before he was able to reach either.
On Jan. 4, 2016, Iginla became the 19th member of the 600-goal club when he centered the puck to the slot before it took a fortuitous bounce off a Los Angeles Kings player and into the net with 6:58 remaining in the third period. All of his Avs teammates came off the bench to celebrate with him, and he received a standing ovation from the Pepsi Center home crowd.
He reached a few more marks the following season, the first of which showed why he was respected not only for his scoring ability, but his physicality as well. He recorded his 1,000th career penalty minute on Nov. 23, 2016 against the Edmonton Oilers to become the ninth player in NHL history to record 600-plus goals and log over 1,000 penalty minutes. Less than three weeks later, Iginla played in his 1,500th game on Dec. 10, 2016 at the Montreal Canadiens, the 16th player in the league annals to reach that milestone.
The veteran suited up in every possible game for the Avalanche, as he played in all 82 contests during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns and each of the first 61 games in 2016-17. He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on March 1, 2018 at the deadline and concluded his career in Southern California.
Iginla announced his retirement from the NHL on July 30, 2018 in Calgary, Alberta. He finished his career with an even 1,300 points, scoring 625 goals and adding 675 assists in 1,554 games with the Avalanche, Flames, Kings, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Born Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla in Edmonton, Alberta, and raised in the nearby suburb of St. Albert, Iginla didn't make things easy for his hometown Oilers during his NHL career, most of it played two hours south in Calgary. In 101 games versus Edmonton, he produced 90 points (39 goals and 51 assists), his most against any opponent in his career. He recorded 1,095 of his points with the Flames, a team he captained for nine seasons and had his number retired by the franchise on March 2, 2019.
Overall, he ranks 14th all-time in games played, is tied with Sakic for 16th in NHL history in goals and is 34th all-time in points. He recorded his final point, No. 1,300, with an assist in his final NHL game on April 9, 2017.
He was named an NHL first-team all-star three times (2002, 2008, 2009), second-team all-star once (2004) and picked up plenty of other hardware in his career. He won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goal scorer in 2002 and 2004 and the Art Ross Trophy in 2001-02 after leading the league that year with 96 points. He was as named the recipient of the Lester B. Pearson (Ted Lindsey) Award in 2002, King Clancey Memorial Trophy in 2004 and Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2009.
Iginla represented his home country of Canada at three Winter Olympic Games, winning gold medals in 2002 and 2010. He was a linemate with Sakic at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City and had the primary assist on Sidney Crosby's golden goal in overtime in 2010 in Vancouver.
Iginla is the 10th former Avalanche player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining Jari Kurri (2001), Ray Bourque (2004), Patrick Roy (2006), Joe Sakic (2012), Rob Blake (2014), Peter Forsberg (2014), Dave Andreychuk (2017), Paul Kariya (2017) and Teemu Selanne (2017).