One of hockey's all time good guys hung up the skates this summer, a full year after playing his last game.
Jarome Iginla played hockey hard and honest, skillfully and physically. He was the complete package, a modern day Gordie Howe if you will. Despite going to war night in and night out, he never made an enemy.
In 21 seasons and 1554 NHL games, Iginla did it all in his career, except win the Stanley Cup. Twice he won the Rocket Richard trophies as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader, and was once the NHL scoring champion with the Art Ross trophy. He won the Ted Lindsay award as the best player in the league as chosen by his peers.
Despite never winning hockey's coveted silver chalice, Iginla's lasting legacy will be golden. He was a significant contributor to two Canadian Olympic gold medal victories.
In 2002, Canada ended a 50-year gold medal drought in men’s hockey, thanks in large part to the line combination of Iginla, Joe Sakic and Simon Gagne. The trio combined for eight points in the gold-medal final, a 5-2 victory over the United States.
Eight years later, at Canada’s home Olympics in Vancouver, Iginla punched the puck through to an open Sidney Crosby, who famously scored the overtime "Golden Goal." in the most pressured filled and scrutinized hockey tournament any Canadian team had ever faced. The result was not just hockey gold but hockey immortality.
Iggy was always willing to represent Canada, and he proudly represented the Calgary Flames most of his career as well. The modern day NHL sees even its most legendary stars turn to vagabonds late in their careers, and Iginla was no exception. He chased the Stanley Cup with brief stops in Colorado, Pittsburgh, Boston and Los Angeles.
If there was ever a player you wanted for that one big game, it was Jarome Iginla. He is a certain Hockey Hall of Famer come 2020.