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But Calgary always welcomed him with open arms. That much was evident during his jersey retirement ceremony last winter in front of a sold-out Scotiabank Saddledome crowd who were moved by the words Iginla spoke.
Iginla announced his retirement from hockey, officially, in the summer of 2018 and joined the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. A no-brainer, really, as he racked up 625 goals at hockey’s highest level which is an achievement only 15 others have accomplished. He also ranks among the NHL’s all-time leaders with 1,300 points and 1,554 games played.
Iginla, now 43, also owns the Flames’ franchise record for goals (525), points (1,095) and games played (1,219) and must have set the unofficial standard for autographs signed, too.
Although he won out against McDonald — also part of Calgary’s unofficial royalty and a living legend in this city — in our final poll to determine your FAVE FLAME EVER, there would likely be no hard feelings.
“Look at how long he played, how he played, what a great teammate he was . . . ” McDonald had said earlier this summer following his phone call to Iginla, welcoming him to the club as the chair of the Hockey Hall of Fame. “He played tough. He played hard. He scored big goals. He made great plays to set up teammates.
“But maybe as important is what he did off the ice . . . How he played the game, how good he was with the press, how good he was with the fans, how good he was both on and off the ice . . . Yeah, that’s why he is a Hall-of-Famer.”