Jarome Iginla only spent a single season playing in Boston, but he clearly made an impact that befits today’s news that he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 class.
Iginla joins Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, Doug Wilson and Ken Holland as this year’s inductees as it caps off a 20-year NHL career that included 625 goals and a dead even 1300 points in 1,554 career games with the Flames, Penguins, Bruins, Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.
“Iggy” is obviously known best for his 16 years with the Flames, where he was a four-time All-Star and twice led the league in goals as one of the dominant power forwards of his generation. Iginla topped 50 goals twice in his career and surpassed 40 goals four different times as a game-breaking scorer, but he was also a tough customer who threw hard hits and was willing to drop the gloves when the moment called for it.
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Iginla had an interesting run with the Bruins as he was nearly a member of the 2013 group that went to the Cup Final, but the right winger chose the Penguins over the Black and Gold when it came down to it at the trade deadline. Instead the Bruins settled on another Hall of Fame-level player in Jaromir Jagr, who famously was held without a goal while the Bruins fell a couple of wins short in the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks.
Could Iginla have been enough to push the Bruins over the top in 2013 if he’d picked the B’s over the Penguins, and added the Stanley Cup title that ended up eluding him over the course of his 20-year Hall of Fame career?
We’ll never know the answer, but he ended up joining up with the Black and Gold anyway.
Iginla signed with the Bruins in free agency the following season and posted 30 goals and 61 points in 78 games at 36 years old. It was a memorable season that included Iginla’s first, triumphant return back to Calgary since he was traded away by the Flames the season prior, and Iginla passing Johnny Bucyk on the all-time goals scored list while he was a member of the Black and Gold.
Certainly, those still around Boston from his time with the Bruins remember his one-year stint very fondly and very well.
“It’s a well-deserved recognition and an amazing accomplishment. [Iginla] should be proud of himself and the way he played the game, and the positive effect he had on every team he played for, and every player that he played with,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who will someday be joining Iginla in that Hockey Hall of Fame. “There are no surprises. There was no doubt that [Iginla] was going to be a Hockey Hall of Famer someday. Thank you for everything you did for our team in Boston, and personally for me I learned so much from you every day. You are an amazing pro, a natural leader and an incredible person.”
David Krejci played with Iginla and Milan Lucic on a line that season, and the playmaking center got a front row seat while assisting on many of his 30 goals that season for the Black and Gold.
“Your leadership on and off the ice was really fun to watch,” said Krejci. “Just like watching you play and watching you practice and watching you shoot the puck. It was pretty special.”
Iginla is the second Hall of Famer to play in Boston with this current core group of Bruins players after Mark Recchi was inducted a couple of years ago, and both share many of the same admirable qualities on and off the ice.
“You were the ultimate professional on and off the ice with the way you carried yourself, and with the way you played the game every day,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Your consistency, your effort, your dedication and let’s not forget what a great role model you were to all the kids you inspired to be hockey players. Thank you for all of that.”
Interestingly enough, Iginla has retained a residence in the Boston area following his playing career while his children, Jade and Tij, play hockey for local hockey programs.
The 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16 in Toronto, but that certainly may be subject to change given the current circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.