Hall of Fame candidate Jarome Iginla hangs up his NHL skates


Perhaps one of the least known facts about Jarome Iginla is that his full name is Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla. But one of the best known facts about him is that he was one of the most talented and toughest forwards the NHL has ever seen. The 41-year-old native of Edmonton, Alberta has decided to say goodbye to the league though as he announced his retirement on July 30th. Iginla definitely left his mark over the past 20 seasons, especially in Calgary, where he played 16 of them.

Iginla's name can be found at the top of the leader board in just about every category for the Canadian franchise as he's the all-time leader in games played at 1,219, goals with 525 and points at 1,095. He's also number one with 161 power play markers and 83 game-winners. The only major area he doesn't rank number one is in assists with 570 as he ends his career with 39 fewer than leader Al MacInnis. The 6-foot-1-inch right-winger also added 28 goals and 21 assists for 49 points in 54 playoff games for the Flames.

Let's not forget Iginla also suited up for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings during the final four years of his career. When his totals with those clubs are added, Iginla walks away with 625 goals and 675 assists for 1,300 points in 1,554 regular-season games with 37 goals and 31 assists for 68 points in 81 playoff contests. He wasn't one to shy away from the rough stuff either and ended up serving 1,040 minutes in penalties in the regular season and another 98 in the postseason. He ranks 13th all time in games played and is tied with Joe Sakic at number 15 in goals scored.

Iginla was originally drafted from the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL by the Dallas Stars back in 1995 with the 11th pick overall. However, he was traded to Calgary along with Corey Millen for Flames' star Joe Nieuwendyk just a few months later. While in Kamloops as a junior, Iginla racked up 102 goals and  134 assists for 236 points in 183 games, won two Memorial Cups and was named the league's player of the year in 1996. During his NHL career Iginla made the All-Rookie Team, three First All-Star Teams a Second All Star Team and played in six All-Star Games. He also won the Rocket Richard Trophy twice for leading the NHL in goals and the Art Ross Trophy once as the top point-getter. .

In addition, he took home the Ted Lindsay Award in 2002 as the league's most outstanding player after a season of 52 goals and 44 assists as well as the 2004 NHL Foundation Player Award and King Clancy Award for community leadership and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2009. One thing that eluded him though was the Stanley Cup. He did lead the Flames to the Final in 2003/04 as club captain, but they were eventually upended in seven games by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Iginla left Calgary in March of 2013 when he was dealt to Pittsburgh for the rest of the season. He then signed as a free agent with Boston for a year, Colorado for two years and was traded to Los Angeles in March, 2017.

Iginla also represented Canada at numerous international tournaments. He led the World Junior Championships in scoring with five goals and seven assists in 1996, won a gold medal, was named to the All-Star Team and also named the top forward of the tournament. He won a gold medal just a year later at the age of 19 when playing for Canada's senior squad at the World Championships and added two goals and three helpers. He scored twice in the final game of the 2002 Olympics to lead Canada to a gold medal and also became the first African/American to capture a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

He played for Canada in the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 and won a gold and then played at both the the 2006  and 2010 Olympics. He led the 2010 Games with five goals and helped his homeland win another gold medal. Iginla was a perfect example of a power forward and similar to Gordie Howe in many ways as he could skate, score, setup teammates and easily take care of himself when the going got rough. And like Howe, fans should see Iginla in the Hockey Hall of Fame as soon as he becomes eligible.