Each NHL Team’s Biggest Character: Calgary Flames, Jarome Iginla
This one was pretty easy. Calgary doesn’t have many characters to begin with but up in Calgary Jarome Iginla sticks out like a sore thumb. Iginla has been stuck up in the frozen tundra known as Calgary playing for the ironically named Flames for a little over a decade and a half. He has been their captain since 2003 and has shown few signs of ever leaving. One of the best players in the NHL, he has a seemingly endless list of accomplishments to accompany his wonderful personality and work ethic. Jarome Iginla was an easy pick for this post.
So about this laundry list of accomplishments, let me just run through it real quick.
– 6 time NHL all-star (3 times first team)
– 2 time olympic gold medalist (team Canada)
– 2 time winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (leading NHL goal scorer)
– Art Ross Trophy winner (point leader at the end of the season)
– Lester B. Pearson trophy winner (NHL’s most outstanding player)
– Mark Messier Leadership Award winner
– An ESPY for best NHL player
– over 900 career points
– over 500 career goals
– over 1,000 games in the NHL
– Flames’ all-time leader in goals, points, and games played
– First black captain in the NHL
that enough for ya? Because he’s still going to this day.
If you looked up the definition of a power forward you would see a picture of ol’ Jarome. Iginla will do it all out on the ice, he’ll knock you down, steal the puck, take it down the ice and get the biscuit in the basket either himself or with a sweet dish to one of his teammates. The name of the game for this character is consistency, he has played the same style every game with the same intensity and seen the same great results game after game his entire career. He won’t win you over with flashy play, or outrageous media stunts, he plays the game as an incredible individual because that’s what he know how to do, and that’s what he does best. He is respected around the NHL as one of the best captains and most genuine players. This is the kind of player every team would love to have because he put up consistently good numbers every season, but more importantly because he makes everyone around him better. Jarome is also one hell of a model citizen. Former Flames’ GM Craig Button put it better than I ever could, “He’s a better person than he is a player, and we all know what kind of player he is.” Just like his hockey career, his generosity know no limits. Iginla donates $2000 to the charity, Kidsport for EVERY goal he scores and has been doing so since 2005 (from 2000-2005 it was only $1000 per goal). Since he started donating money per goal in 2000 he has donated over $500,000. He also has his own non-profit organization called The Jarome Iginla Hockey School with all proceeds being donated to Juvenile Diabetes research. To close out this post on telling you what a great guy Iginla is I’ll leave you with two stories of his kindness. The first took place in Calgary when around 20 or so men (all Flames fans) were having a dinner outing and spotted Iginla’s Escalade in the parking lot. They waited for him to come out but once he did they didn’t want to bother him because he was with his family. Seeing all of these fans staring at him coming out, he knew what they wanted. He pulled his car around to them and offered each one of them an autographed Flames jersey. The second story took place in Salt Lake City, Utah for the 2002 Olympic Games. Jarome was out eating dinner at his hotel when some Calgary natives noticed him and struck up conversation. They told him they came down to see Team Canada hockey play in the Olympics, but could not afford a room due to trip and ticket expenses, so they were sleeping in their car. Jarome immediately got up and left the conversation. He went to the front desk and booked these four Calgarians a hotel for the remainder of their trip. In a time where we are constantly hearing of athletes spending their money on things that no one would ever need, complaining they don’t make enough, or letting their money give them a false sense of superiority to their fellow-man, it’s so relieving to hear of athletes, like Iginla, that have retained a good amount of their humility and allocating their funds in such a way that they give back to the community that supports them. For his dedication, charity, hockey skill and general good attitude, Jarome Iginla is the biggest and best Character on the Calgary Flames.
Iginla’s 500th career goal. Look how much the Calgary faithful love him.