One of the National Hockey League's most beloved figures has just received a tremendous honor.
Although it has been many years now since we have seen or even heard of a potential return to the ice for veteran forward Jarome Iginla the former Flames captain has continued to have a long lasting impact on the hockey world. Nowhere is this more true that in St. Albert, Alberta, a city in which Iginla began his hockey career, long before any of us were at all familiar with his name and likeness.
Although Iginla is more of a distant and fond memory now for fans in the National Hockey League, it appears as though the hockey loving fans in St. Albert still remember the man very fondly. This week those fans and that city demonstrated as much when they made the move to rename a local arena, changing it from its original name, Akinsdale Arena, to the new name that will prominently feature Jarome Iginla in it.
Iginla was quick to acknowledge the fans in attendance for the announcement for their loyalty, noting that although he played for a rival team, the fan support never failed to blow him away.
"I want to thank you guys for your support, your encouragement, and you continued to cheer me on, even though I played for the Flames and I know a lot of you guys didn’t like them," Iginla told the crowd, which responded in whoops and cheers.
"I love seeing all the Flames jerseys here though. Thank you."
Interestingly enough the mayor of St. Albert, Alberta, mayor Cathy Heron told reporters this week she feels this is a major win for those who decided to build the arena project all those many years ago. Cathy makes a great point, the arena helped make Iginla the man he is today, and if it had never been built who knows what may have happened.
"When they opened this arena it was a big deal—I remember it very well," Heron said.
"So the fact that Jarome started to skate in this very arena proves that the investment that we do as municipalities—we invest in recreational facilities—and it's an important investment.
"Because not only does it bring success to Jarome and him individually, it brings a community together. There was a stand full of people here celebrating him today."