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Iginla: Stanley Cup or no, I’m not retiring

Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla isn’t sure where he’ll play hockey next year, but he does know one thing:

He’ll be playing somewhere.

The Pittsburgh winger told the Calgary Herald that, even if he wins his first-ever Stanley Cup this spring, he won’t consider retiring.

Here’s more, from the Herald:

What Jarome Iginla does know is that, whatever happens, Stanley Cup or no, he’ll be playing next season. Somewhere. There’ll be no teary Ray Bourque-like goodbye should the dream at long last come to fruition.

“I had one fan come up to me in a restaurant the other night,” he laughs, “just to say ‘Good luck, Friday.’ And I’m like ‘Thank you.’ And then, out of the blue, he says: ‘If you guys win it, are you going to retire?’ He must’ve thought I said yes, because he was like ‘C’mon? No! No!’

“But, no, I don’t plan on retiring.

“I still feel good. I still love the game. God willing, I’d love to win the Cup this year. But, regardless, I plan on playing for a while longer.”

Iginla turns 36 and will become an unrestricted free agent this July. With his new deal, money likely won’t be an issue -- he’s made $56 million on his last two contracts alone -- but it will be interesting to see how long he signs for.

The 11th overall pick at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Iginla can look around the league and see a number of ’95 first-rounders still playing -- Shane Doan, Wade Redden, Radek Dvorak, Jean-Sebastien Giguere -- so there’s little surprise he wants to keep playing.

That said, Iginla has been grinding it out for 17 years and participated in over 1200 regular season contests (including a stretch of 410 straight from 2007-12).

The only ’95 draftee with a similar workload is Doan -- who, it has to be mentioned, was getting mega-offers last summer during free agency.