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Iginla honored to have another All-Star opportunity

by Aaron Vickers
CALGARY – Less than a week after accomplishing the feat of 500 career goals, Jarome Iginla received yet another honor Thursday.

Iginla was announced as Calgary’s lone representative for the 2012 Tim Horton’s NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

It’s another achievement in the storied career of the Flames captain, who was excited to learn about his nomination.

“It feels good to be selected,” Iginla said, who has made five previous trips to the event. “I plan to be there. I look forward to it. I’ve been very fortunate and it’s been a fun year in some ways.”

With a team-leading 36 points and 501 career goals on his resume, Iginla may have seemed like a lock to represent the Flames at the event.

But Iginla noted he might not have been the only choice to represent Calgary, identifying teammates Curtis Glencross, Olli Jokinen and Miikka Kiprusoff as worthy nominees for the event as well.

Glencross has a team-leading 18 goals, while Jokinen’s 35 points are just one fewer than Iginla’s team lead. In net, Kiprusoff has put together 19 wins, a 2.49 goals against average and .915 save percentage.

“There definitely were other options,” Iginla said, who got the news minutes before meeting with the media Thursday. “[Glencross] is having a great year. Kipper is having another outstanding year for us. Olli’s been really good for us. I definitely wouldn’t have been offended at all. They could’ve easily have been there.”

The vote might have been swayed a little after Iginla scored his 500th goal on Jan. 7, becoming the 42nd player in league history to accomplish the feat and only one of three active players alongside Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr to hit the milestone.

“It’s probably the highlight so far (this season), reaching 500 and being able to do it at home and I’m really appreciative of the fans and support,” Iginla said. “It was something that was pretty cool and I’ll remember.”

Iginla could receive the same support when he travels to Ottawa to skate alongside the NHL’s elite. Flames coach Brent Sutter was quick to point out that Iginla – the captain of a Canadian franchise – is set to travel to the nation’s capital for the spectacle.

“It’s obviously a tremendous honor for him,” Sutter said. “Just the fact having the opportunity to play and being hosted in Canada and Jarome playing on a Canadian team, it’s all a great fit.”

The thought of passing on the event never entered the mind of the 34-year-old.

Despite a hectic schedule, Iginla wasn’t about to skip on the opportunity of becoming an All-Star again. In fact, the face of the Flames franchise is planning on making it a family affair.

“At times, you say ‘oh if you could take a break’ but looking back, one day I’m going to be done, I’ll have lots of time to travel,” Iginla said. “They’re neat experiences and I’ll be able to take my family. The kids are getting bigger and know a little more what’s going on and we’ll have some fun. I’ve never taken them before.”
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