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Thank you, Iggy. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/CpPUJkQiBi
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 3, 2019
March 2nd, 2019. Almost an hour long fete for fan-favorite and face of the franchise Jarome Iginla. If you grew up watching hockey during the 90s then you know the story. You also have been shaped by Iginla and what he meant for the game, but also this city. We were lucky to have one of the league’s most dominant players of an era play for the Flames. Although the ultimate prize of a Stanley Cup eluded him, he’s won pretty much every piece of hockey hardware. Later this year we can expect a first ballot NHL Hall of Fame ticket as well.
What’s really neat about hockey fans in this city, is that everyone has an Iginla story. The one you heard, but most likely the one you experienced. Iginla’s stature as a local celebrity is legendary because ultimately all of the incredible and humble stories are true.
For this post I’ll tell my favorite story about Iginla, so come take a walk down memory lane. It was a warm Spring night in 2004. Game six at home versus the SJ Sharks. Actually, come to think of it, this story starts in the afternoon….
Stanley Cup fever had hit the city and everything was buzzing. The Red Mile turned the city red at night, but during the day most people couldn’t get out of work fast enough to hit the ‘Dome. Back then, you could get last minute nosebleeder tickets and race to the first-come-first-serve seats if you showed up two hours before the game. Of course myself and a few friends did this every time we could get our hands on tickets, which was a lot. To celebrate our Game 6 tickets, buddy and I put together a replica Stanley Cup made out of a wastepaper basket and bowl covered in tinfoil. It was sweet.
For some context, Darryl Sutter had the team spend the night at a hotel even though they were at home. That meant the team was travelling from the downtown hotel. We were heading down to the ‘Dome super early to get seats, bringing along our new Cup. It may have been late afternoon, but things were festive even in rush hour traffic. As we were creeping along 9th ave I noticed a massive Hummer in the rear-view mirror. Everyone at the time (well maybe not everyone), knew the Craig Conroy had a butt ugly Hummer. I peered through the windshield and noticed I was him! But then, in the passenger side, none other than Jarome riding shotgun. Sweet. I have to cheer these guys on before the game.
I unbuckled my seat-belt, opened the sunroof, and pumped the cup straight out much to the delight of the passing cars. But I was really trying to get the attention of Iggy. Sure enough, they both saw our broke ass Cup and gave us a chuckle and thumbs up. Sweet.
Well we know how the game went. Game 6 win with the Flames booking their ticket to the Finals. Things were WILD. Nobody could believe what they were seeing. We were already shocked to be this far.
Since we were at the game we knew that Iggy would stop (or hoped he would) if we stuck around late. What’s another hour or two waiting? So we did. There, just after midnight, the last car to roll through the parking lot, Iginla and his Escalade. We had him sign all of our gear, then asked, “you remember us? We were on 9th ave before the game with the Cup!”
Well of course he did. “You were those two idiots with the Cup!”
Yes we were Iggy.
We also happened to be at the Game 6 Final where we “won”. I remember screaming to “go upstairs” and check because even up in the nosebleeds we knew the puck had crossed the line.
Anyways, that’s as story about #12, and how for a brief moment in Spring 2004 he captured the attention of an entire city.
Do you have any stories to share? Post them in the comments section below!