Former Kamloops Blazers' forward Jarome Iginla belongs to the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
The class, revealed on Wednesday, includes Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, Doug Wilson and Ken Holland (builder).
Former Blazers' head coach Ken Hitchock and player Shane Doan did not get the nod this year.
Iginla had 1,300 points in 1,554 career NHL games and helped Canada win gold at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
He set up Sidney Crosby for the golden goal in an overtime victory over the U.S. at the 2010 Games.
Iginla won multiple individual awards during his NHL career, including the Art Ross Trophy in 2002, the Maurice Richard Trophy in 2002 and 2004, the Lester B. Pearson Award in 2002, the King Clancy Award in 2004 and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2009.
He will be the third Blazers' alumnus to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining Scott Niedermayer (2013) and Mark Recchi (2017).
The St. Albert, Alta., product played three seasons for the Blazers, from 1993 to 1996, and helped the WHL club to Memorial Cup titles in 1994 and 1995.
Iginla, part-owner of the Blazers, finished his WHL career with 236 points, including 102 goals, in 183 games.
In 2016, a panel of hockey historians ranked him seventh among the top 50 players in WHL history.
Iginla and family live in the Boston area.
Much of the retired NHLer’s life revolves around coaching his three children — daughter Jade, 16, and sons Tij, 14, and Joe, 12.
Iginla attended the Blazers’ alumni tournament last summer at Rivershore Golf Links, where media caught up with him for a few questions:
MEDIA: What’s it like to be back in Kamloops?
JI: Time flies. When you drive in, lots has changed, but it still looks and feels so similar and brings back a lot of great memories. I miss junior, when you’re coming in and everything is so fresh. When I come back and see the mountains, I can remember getting dropped off by my mom at 16 and I didn’t know what to expect, and all the neat memories here.
MEDIA: What do you miss most about playing in the NHL?
JI: I don’t know if I can pinpoint one thing, but I do miss the competitive side. It’s just so fun to be out there playing the game. We were just big kids, even though we were 25 and, at the end, 38. It didn’t feel a lot different than being 16 or 17. It was a dream come true. I kind of wore the tread off the tires, but I feel thankful I got to do that.
MEDIA: Speaking of competitiveness, you used to have some good battles with Ryan Kesler. Did you have a healthy hockey hate on for him?
JI: On the ice, you definitely don’t like certain guys and I’m sure that goes both ways. It’s not personal. You try to do whatever you can to win and help your team. On the ice, yeah, definitely one of the guys, you know, what do you say, I butted heads with the most. I don’t know him personally. Two rival teams. Starts there. I was competitive. He was competitive. You play each other so much. That’s part of hockey.
MEDIA: What are the chances we see one of your sons in a Blazers’ jersey?
JI: Well, we’re out east right now. Both my sons, they do talk about the possibility of wanting to get into the WHL. They like Kamloops and they see enough of the memorabilia around the house. We’ll just keep at it. They like it. They’re working away at it. It’s fun to try to pass some stuff on to them. We’ll just keep trying to help them improve.
It’s neat to be able to be there for practices, coaching my sons’ bantam and peewee teams. The daughter doesn’t want anything to do with me out on the ice. She plays, but she doesn’t want me out there.
MEDIA: Do you see yourself getting back into hockey?
JI: I’m getting that now with coaching [my sons]. It’s literally six days a week, at least one or maybe two times on the ice. What I do find is I have to dial it back a little bit. I think of the coaches that you try to learn from and you forget it’s like Don Hay, and they’re great at what they do, but these are just 13- and 11-year-old kids. Sometimes. I take some of their stuff and then I realize, whoa, maybe that’s too intense. I’m still learning.
For right now, this is where my focus is. I don’t know what opportunities will come down the road, hopefully some really good ones and something that fits, but right now I’m loving the kids and coaching them.”