Jarome Iginla returns to Calgary tonight where he was a demi-god for 17 years as a Flame. The future Hall of Famer and greatest player who ever wore a Flames jersey is coming through town as a member of the Boston Bruins. Expect a standing ovation, Iggy. A long one. Returning icons are treated with nothing less.
The Flames organization will surely pull out all the stops with a lengthy video tribute and a few speeches for Calgary’s longest serving captain. Someday, perhaps even tonight, Iginla’s No. 12 will be retired by the Flames, joining Lanny McDonald’s No. 9 and Mike Vernon’s No. 30. (Al MacInnis’ No. 2 is ‘honored’ by the team.)
We’ve seen a few of these return-to-roots games already this season. Philadelphia’s Vincent Lecavalier returned Nov. 27 to Tampa Bay, where he spent the first 1,037 regular season games of his NHL career. Detroit’s Daniel Alfredsson returned Dec. 1 to Ottawa, where he spent the first 1,178 regular season games of his career.
Iginla spent the first 1,219 regular season games of his career as a Flame. His return to Calgary tonight marks the fourth longest career in which a player returns to the city where he started his career. (See top 10 list at bottom of post.)