Jock Talk with JD: Happy Trails to Jarome Iginla
Jock Talk – Where we honour the legends of the game.
I start by professing my love for hockey. Ever since I could remember I’ve always jumped at the opportunity of booting around the ice or pavement when a game was called. Even to this day whenever I can, I’m all in! Something about scoring a goal and it meaning that much more than say, throwing a touchdown, hitting a basket, striking a goal or launching one out the yard. Actually, scratch that. Going yard is right there too. I would yell Gretzky more times than not, though my game was more like Cam Neely with a mix of Mike Bossy. The speed of the game while making quick decisions on the fly is no easy task. And you can only go so long before needing a line change or calling for a sub. The tough element of the game is what I enjoy most. The odd good scrap never hurt nobody albeit rising concerns of CTE by former NHL tough guys. Who if I might add signed up for being a fourth-line goon. The culture was different back then. And to the credit of the NHL and the NHLPA, goon hockey has been fazed out. Staged fights too. Next is fighting just because your boy got laid out by a legal bodycheck. But, if players are in an intense game trying to score, defending hard and tempers flare, so be it, let ’em go, drop ’em. Fair game, play on.
Which brings me to Jarome Iginla. The kind of player I would emulate if I were young again.
As the saying goes – All good things must come to an end. And after 16 seasons as a Calgary Flames star and 20 seasons collectively in the NHL, Iginla has called it a career. Wow! Where do I begin? The young kid born in Edmonton who ended up playing for the hated Flames? The brilliantly witty, humble, gracious, tough as nails and forever class individual off the ice? Or just jump right into stats? Hmm. Wait! Got it. The first time I ever heard the name Jarome Iginla. He was a junior with the Kamloops Blazers and they had just won a Memorial Cup. He was flawlessly rugged on the ice in winning the finals MVP along with the WHL player of the year. Followed up next was the Dallas Stars selecting Iginla with their first pick, 11th overall, in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. The Flames had their eyes set on Iginla for years as a junior but were beaten to the punch at the draft. Then, five days before Christmas,1995, persistence paid off. The Flames succeeded in trading for Iginla along with Corey Millen, for the rights to forward Joe Nieuwendyk, who was then in a contract dispute with the Flames. It was a win-win for both teams. Or so it seemed. Flames nation wasn’t happy to lose their Captain for a player who wasn’t NHL established. I could also sense the undertone of race being an issue. Sad but true, been going on for decades in hockey. I’m sure guys like Willie O’Ree, Tony McKegney, Grant Fuhr and other players of colour could attest to the despicable ways of some. But that’s for another day.
Show and prove is the only way one can solidify their status. Iginla was born ready.
“My grandpa took me to my first tryout at age seven and we didn’t know there were no jerseys or socks to be handed out, so I skated around and everyone had their outfits on and were good players and I’m skating around with no jersey or socks. My grandpa had to run and get me a jersey from the sports store in St. Albert and he brought back one I wasn’t that thrilled to get – it was a Calgary Flames jersey.
“It was probably the last one left at the time. The cards were stacked against me. I think not wearing a jersey and then getting a Flames one made sure I was put on the worst team. Fact was, I wasn’t very good when I started.”
An excerpt from Iginla’s press conference announcing his retirement. Dated: July 30th, 2018. You can find it on YouTube. Iginla had officially called it a career quietly by filing papers the week before his farewell gathering. One the Calgary Flames management insisted on giving Iginla as special send off. Old Flames teammates were in attendance to wish their buddy a happy trail. Great gesture.
A six-time NHL All-Star, Iginla is the Flames’ all-time leader in goals, points, and games played, and is second in assists to Al MacInnis. Iginla scored 50 goals in a season on two occasions and is one of seven players in NHL history to score 30 goals in 11 consecutive seasons. He is one of 20 players in NHL history to score over 600 goals and is one of 34 players to record 1,300 points in his career. He is a past winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award and has been recognized by both the Flames and the league for his community work; while a member of the Flames, Iginla donated $2,000 to the children’s charity Kidsport for every goal he scored. That’s solid!
Internationally, Iginla has represented Canada on numerous occasions. He was a member of championship teams at the 1996 World Junior and 1997 World Championships as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He is a three-time Olympian and two-time gold medal winner, including at the 2002 Winter Olympics where he helped lead Canada to its first Olympic hockey championship in 50 years.
Only thing Iginla didn’t accomplish was becoming a Stanley Cup champion. Though not his choice as a true captain would, Iginla stayed loyal to Calgary before finally being moved on. Several stops later with notable teams Iginla came up short in his quest to hoist that bad boy. He took a year off of hockey and came to the difficult decision to hang ’em up. Nonetheless, he’s a champion in real life and well respected throughout the league. When I list my top ten fave players ever, I got Jarome Iginla penned for sure. His guts, his smarts, his overall game, put him right up there as one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game.
It’s not the size of the man but rather the size of his heart, and Iginla is all heart. Cheers!
Quick Hits: Good luck, Roberto Osuna. A good kid who I feel got caught up in some bull. Bet he puts up great career numbers, while what the Jays got in return won’t factor much in terms of productivity going forth.
Only 17? Sheesh! Soccer phenom Alphonso Davies is the truth! Another great one out of Edmonton via Ghana. Humble beginnings growing up in a refugee camp to being the young prince of the futbol world. Vancouver Whitecaps finalized his transfer to German soccer giant Bayern Munich for a record-breaking US$22 million transfer deal. He’ll start playing for Bayern in 2019. After watching him strike for three pretty goals the other day, I have no doubt this kids gonna shine on the big stage.
Salute to LeBron James for king moves. Like him or not when it comes to ball, but there’s no denying off the court this is what it’s all about.
The more Dez Bryant tweets, the more he sits and stews as an unemployed former wideout … Tough seeing Serena Williams take her worst L in her tennis career, 6-1, 7-0 loss Johanna Konta … File in the about time section; Boston Bruins will be retiring the slickest player they’ve ever had, Rick Middleton, No. 16. Dope! … Pittsburgh Pirates came up aces in acquiring Chris Archer, three more years of control for a pitcher best suited for the NL. Congrats to MVP Maya Moore. Once again she played amazing at the WNBA all-star game on her home court in Minneapolis. Winning her third straight MVP, with a line of 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 dimes. That’s my girl!
Jock Talk with JD: Track of the Week
My track of the week goes to Classified. I don’t know duke personally put as a OG hip-hop head, I respect this mans grind. He’s been putting in work, touching various topics for many a years. This track here is one I like the most from his extensive catalogue, “Inner Ninja” featuring Davis Myles.
‘TIL NEXT TIME.
Thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with this stat of the week:
From 2016-17, Roberto Osuna had the 3rd-most saves in MLB with 75 (behind Kenley Jansen and Alex Colomé).