By Joe Russo
While there is an argument for or against the NHL’s 2020 Hall of Fame class, there was plenty of undeniability for those selected. Ken Holland either aided in or was solely responsible for building a perennial Cup contender while in Detroit. Kevin Lowe, well, the truth can be found in his trophy case, an instrumental leader, and presence on the blueline for some great teams during his playing career. No position is more mentally fatiguing in hockey than goaltender for team Canada, a badge Kim St-Pierre wore with pride while representing her country 83 times. Collecting 64 wins, 29 of which were shutouts.
By now you are aware of two who headlined this years class, Marian Hossa and Jarome Iginla were both cut from the same cloth. Heavy on the puck, excellent hands in high danger situations, skating with a gritty presence which intimidated the best in the game. A staggering 2,434 NHL points shared between the two of them, so it should come as no surprise that in both of their first years of eligibility, they received the call.
Hossa’s now-infamous ring chase, which spanned three seasons qualifying for the Stanley Cup Finals with three separate organizations, was once a heart-wrenching saga. Now, three rings later, its the stuff of legends.
Those who achieved their Ph.D. in hockey history will likely remember Iginla as the heart and soul of the Calgary Flames, and for a good reason. Unfortunately, when it became evident Calgary would be unable to supply him with the singular accolade he was yet to achieve, he began to search the market. Everyone is aware of the events during the 2013 trade deadline, which ultimately saw Iginla become a Penguin. But his importance to the Boston Bruins during the 2013-14 campaign is still felt to this day.
Typically when your tenure is a single-season, it’s often difficult to leave a lasting impression on the team around you. Its evident Iginla’s leadership was everlasting. Hearing terms such as “role model, an incredible person and community contributions, leadership on and off the ice” getting tossed around by former teammates go way beyond goals and assists.
Filling in excellently into Nathan Horton’s previous role, ‘Iggy’ found instant chemistry with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Utilizing his size and speed, he chipped in 61 points and helped Boston achieve the highest team point total in the league. His stint was short, and by the time the summer came around, he agreed to a deal with Colorado.
Hockey’s hall of fame is filled with greatness that can be found both on and off the playing surface. Very rarely do the two not intersect. Jarome Iginla was a commanding presence with an insane release and ability to drive himself hard to the net and get rewarded. Off the ice, he was impacting the lives of many a young hockey player. Need more proof?
Congrats Iggy, its well deserved.