Tij Iginla

SALT LAKE CITY -- When Tij Iginla was introduced to the crowd during the Utah Hockey Club's development camp scrimmage Friday, he was greeted with the loudest applause of anyone on the roster.

“It was really cool to hear a big cheer when my name was called,” said the 17-year-old center, selected by Utah with the No. 6 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. “I think the fans have been so welcoming to the hockey club and to me as well. It looks like we're going to have some of the best fans in the League down the road and it should be a lot of fun.”

Though his NHL debut has yet to be determined, the son of Calgary Flames icon and Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla already has made big waves in Utah.

“He’s an unbelievable kid, he’s a hockey player inside and out,” Utah general manager Bill Armstrong said. “We really loved him not only as a person but as a player, he has everything that we like.”

Iginla is coming off a breakout season with Kelowna of the Western Hockey League; he was second on the team with 84 points (47 goals, 37 assists) in 64 games and led the club in goals following a trade from Seattle on June 8, 2023. He also had 12 points (six goals, six assists) in seven games to help Canada win the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“I think the thing that stood out was the work ethic, high motor, and then just the willingness to play on the inside, which is critical in the NHL,” Utah director of player development Lee Stempniak said. “That's where the goals are scored, and [he has] that willingness, which is great to see.”

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Utah sees Iginla as a potential top-six forward when he develops into an NHL player, and someone who can score at a high clip.

“I said to him, we have a lot of 20-goal scorers. We need a 50-goal scorer,” Armstrong said. “He’s got a chance to kind of push the pace and score some goals for us. I love his mindset.”

Aside from his father’s decorated career, Iginla's older sister, Jade, led Brown University women's team in scoring last season as a sophomore forward with 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 32 games, and his younger brother, Joe, played five games as a 15-year-old forward with Edmonton of the WHL last season.

Tij Iginla said his connection to his family is paramount to his development moving forward.

“He's been huge for my development," he said about his father. “It’ll be good to get back home and keep working on all parts of my game with him, and then I got my brother and sister, so we get out on the ice lots and just kind of work on whatever we got for the day.”

“The focus is to just keep improving in all parts of my game. Just have a big summer and go into next season, whatever it is, and just keep trying to improve my game as much as I can.”

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