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Iggy gets the nod to join the game's elite

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /

He made a mark on the game and left us in awe. 

He tugged at our hearts, inspired his peers and brought courage along at every step on the way.

He was a superstar. 

A legend. 

A Flame.


Video: We honour Jarome and his call to the Hall

Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla is now rightfully enshrined as one of the best, ever, as the headliner for the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class.

Where he belongs.

Iggy was one of the game's great power forwards - the last, perhaps, of a dying breed that blended the suave and the skill with the mean and the moxie.

On talent alone, he could beat you with ease. He was masterful in his art, with a venomous shot only few could defend.

He was also a brute, as tough as they come, who would hit, fight, and grind his opponents deep in the trenches.

There isn't anything he wouldn't do to satisfy that insatiable thirst for winning.

In all, Iggy did so on about every level imaginable.

He left the game three years ago having won two Memorial Cups, a World Junior Championship, an Art Ross Trophy, two Rocket Richard titles, and a pair of Olympic gold medals on top of the most prolific NHL career on record here in the Stampede City.

For a staggering 11 consecutive seasons, he led the Flames in scoring, his name inscribed all over the franchise record book as the career leader in games played (1,219), points (1,095), goals (525) and 30-or-more-goal seasons (11), second in assists (570) and hat tricks (12).

He closed out the ride with the Penguins, Bruins, Avalanche and Kings, finishing with a tidy career stat line of 625 goals and 1,300 points over 20 NHL seasons.

One thousand, five hundred fifty-four games in all.


Video: 'It's pretty exciting ... and a huge honour'


Nothing, of course, could top the emotional run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final back in 2004.

Iggy, a 26-year-old first-year captain, was widely considered the best player in the game at that time. And who could argue? His 13 goals led all sharp-shooters that spring. His 22 points were third-best, with Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis holding a slim edge.

But, crucially, he was the heartbeat of a young Flames team that took many by surprise.

His epic fight with Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier remains one of the most chill-inducing, crowd-thumping Iggy moments ever on record.

By then, seemingly all of Calgary was decked out in that iconic No. 12 that now hangs proudly in the rafters at the Scotiabank Saddledome, officially retired on March 2, 2019.

Many still are.


Video: Lanny narrates a look back at Iggy's greatness


It happened that way because Iggy - the powerful, six-time all-star - always had a say.

His 45 PIMs, 23-plus minutes of ice time and rapier-like twine-seekers from the top of the circles made certain of that

Blood. Sweat. Tears. At times, all at once.

"Not too many players can change the momentum of a game with a goal, with an assist, with a fight - but Jarome did all of that," said former teammate and current Flames assistant coach, 'The Eliminator,' Martin Gelinas.

"I always go back to Game 7 in Vancouver. Right from the drop of the puck, he took charge and made things happen. I remember we were leading with two minutes to go, and the Canucks ended up tying the game with five seconds left. Jarome had two goals at that point already. We all went back to the room and I remember it was quiet. The team was deflated. But Jarome stood up and took charge. From there, the mood changed.

"Then, we went on the ice and Jarome set up the game-winner."


Off the ice, Iginla's upbeat character, leadership qualities and million-dollar smile made him the ultimate fan-favourite and face of the franchise. Former Flames president Ken King once remarked that Iggy had set a culture of kindness, positivity and empathy that - to this day - resonates at all levels of the organization.  

That's the kind of lasting impact he had - how important he was, and still is, to the spirit and generosity of our community.

As a result, Iginla won both the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his humanitarian contributions and the Mark Messier Leadership Award for on-ice leadership, motivation of team members and dedication to charitable causes.

Through it all, Iggy never changed. A long list of achievements did nothing to quell his humility.  

Whether it was on the ice or in the community, that was his mission - to be kind, grow the game, and give back.

Now, the game has given back to him.

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