There will be no forgetting Jarome Iginla, who announced his retirement on July 30.
Iginla retires with 1,300 points, 34th on the all time list, and with 625 goals, tied for 15th in NHL history. With 197 power play goals, 20th all time, and with 101 regular season game winning goals, the 8th most in league history. The stats and records can go on and on, but one of the things that set the future Hall of Famer apart was his character. "A caring, smiling, charismatic person" former teammate Eric Gelinas says of Iginla. Whether it was signing an autograph, shaking a hand, attending a charity, or just giving a random phone call, Iginla was always making someone's day. In 2004, he won both the King Clancy Memorial Award, given to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice, and has made a notable humanitarian contribution to his community, and the NHL Foundation Award, given to a player who applies commitment, perseverance, and teamwork, to enrich those in his community.
The six time All Star holds the Calgary Flames all time records in games played, points, and goals, and is second in assists. His twenty year career ended with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, and the Los Angeles Kings. Iginla's closest chance at a Stanley Cup was in 2004. He led the Flames with 22 playoff points, and took them all the way to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, where they would fall 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
When Jarome was just one year old, his parents divorced. He moved in with his grandparents and mother. He later credited his hockey career to his grandfather, who took him to his first hockey try-outs. Iginla recalls that the two did not realize that jerseys and socks were not provided, so 'Iggy' was forced to skate the first half of the tryouts without them. When his grandfather returned, he was holding a Calgary Flames jersey for Jarome to wear. They were living in Edmonton. For whatever reason, Iginla ended up in the lowest league. Well, to put it frankly, Iginla got much much better. After being drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars, he was traded to the Flames for four time All Star Joe Nieuwendyk, sparking the question: Who is this 'Jarome Iginla?' Despite leading all rookies with 50 points, he finished second in Calder Memorial Trophy voting. In his sixth season, Iginla became a super star. He led the league in goals (52), and points (96), while taking home the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the most valuable player as voted by the players. Let's just say, now people know who Jarome Iginla is.
Just like how Iginla spent the entirety of his career, he retired with class. He somehow managed to thank everyone. He was humble, and truly cared about the people he spoke about. He stated how much he loves the game, and how hard it will be to not play it anymore. He is someone to truly be admired.