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Colorado Avalanche great Jarome Iginla announces retirement after 21 seasons

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The former Colorado Avalanche winger (who also spent some time with some other clubs) is a sure-fire Hall of Famer

Washington Capitals v Colorado Avalanche
Jarome Iginla #12 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with teammate Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche as the Capitals hold a 3-1 lead in the second period at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

One player, 1554 games, 625 goals, 675 assists, 1300 points, 1040 penalty minutes, two Olympic Gold Medals, two Rocket Richards, and an Art Ross across a 21-year career with the Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and another team I forgot the name of.

That is what all-time Avalanche Great Jarome Iginla is putting the lid on as he has announced that he will retire from hockey officially during a press conference on July 30th in Calgary. Not sure why they picked Calgary, Iggy was born in Edmonton!

Okay, that’s it for the jokes. Maybe.

Easily the greatest Calgary Flames player of all time, Jarome Iginla, is callin it a career. It was an honor to have him in our organization for the three seasons that we did, even if we get him the Cup he so dearly deserves.

Even at 37-years-old, Iginla led the 2014-15 Avalanche in goals with 29. He hit goal number 600 (the 19th player all-time to do so) on January 4th, 2016 with the Flames. He also reached game number 1500 with the Avs, only 18 players in NHL history have ever played long enough to hit that mark (19 if you include Mike Modano’s 1499 games).

Iginla was a pioneer in every respect; as a leader on and off the ice, a prolific talent with the stick as well as his hands, and a hero for kids of color growing up all around the continent. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, without a doubt.

Okay that is all I feel we are allowed to say, Iggy’s a Flame first, second, and third. In that spirit, here is what Flames nation is saying on the day of Iggy’s retirement announcement.

Jarome Iginla in an interview with NHL.com about his retirement.

“In a sense, I grew up there,’’ says Iginla. “I started playing for the Flames at 19 but even in minor hockey I remember traveling to Calgary for tournaments, from St. Albert, and I imagined playing in the Saddledome.

”It’s been a fun adventure, for my family and I. Some great cities, great people. To be back in Alberta, though, will feel like home.”

The comments section (I know) of Flames Nation has a great list of well-wishes and hopes that Iggy will sign a one-day contract with the team and get his #12 retired as soon as possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, get those tissues handy. A native of St. Albert, Alberta, Iginla had a tremendous junior career with the Kamloops Blazers where he won a pair of Memorial Cups. Originally drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 1995 NHL Draft, he was traded to the Flames in exchange for holdout forward Joe Nieuwendyk in December 1995. He went pro with the Flames in the spring of 1996 and never looked back.

The Calgary Sun goes deep into the legacy of Iggy in their post.

During his days as the net-filling fan favourite at the Saddledome, Iginla was a two-time winner of the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading marksman. His hardware collection also includes the Art Ross Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, King Clancy Memorial Trophy, NHL Foundation Player Award, Mark Messier Leadership Award and two Olympic gold medals.

And of course, the fans:

Team Canada fans are welcome as well, I guess.

Happy retirement, Iggy!

Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche
Jarome Iginla #12 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on during a break in the action against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on January 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images