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Fri, 07.01.1977

Jarome Iginla, Hockey player born

Jarome Iginla

*On this date in 1977, Jarome Iginla was born.  He is a Black Canadian (retired) professional hockey forward.

He played over 1500 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.  Jarome Arthur Iginla was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and raised in the adjoining city of St. Albert.  His father, a lawyer, was originally from Nigeria and changed his first name from Adekunle to Elvis when he arrived in Canada.  His surname means "Big tree" in Yoruba, his father's native language.  Iginla's mother, Susan, is originally from Oregon, and has worked as a massage therapist and music teacher. Iginla grew up with his mother and grandparents after his parents divorced when he was a year old. He has two brothers, Jason and Stephen, and two sisters, Theresa and Elizabeth.  

As a youth, Iginla played baseball and was the catcher on the Canadian national junior team. He credits his grandfather for his hockey career, as with his mother working and father attending law school, he would not have had the opportunity to play sports at a high level if not for his grandfather's support.  He played his entire minor hockey career in St. Albert, leading the Alberta Midget Hockey League in scoring as a 15-year-old with 87 points for the St. Albert Midget Raiders in 1992–93.   He led the NHL in goals and points in 2001–02 and won the Lester B. Pearson Award as its most valuable player. In 2003–04, Iginla led the league in goals for the second time and captained the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals, leading the playoffs in goals.   

A six-time NHL All-Star, Iginla is the Flames' all-time leader in goals, points, and games played.  He is one of 20 players in NHL history to score over 600 goals and is one of 34 players to record 1,300 points in his career. He is a past winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award and has been recognized by both the Flames and the league for his community work; while a member of the Flames, Iginla donated $2,000 to the children's charity Kidsport for every goal he scored. 

 In international hockey, Iginla has represented Canada on numerous occasions. He was a member of championship teams at the 1996 World Junior and 1997 World Championships as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He is a three-time Olympian and two-time gold medal winner, including at the 2002 Winter Olympics where he helped lead Canada to its first Olympic hockey championship in 50 years.  

Iginla was the cover athlete and spokesperson for the EA Sports video game NHL 2003.  Since 2002, he has operated the Jarome Iginla Hockey School in Calgary as a non-profit organization, donating proceeds to the Diabetes Research Association.  In 2004, he was awarded the NHL Foundation Player Award for his community service and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in recognition of his humanitarian contributions. Iginla supports many charities.  Iginla is a part owner of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, for whom he played during his junior hockey days. He purchased a minority share in the franchise, along with fellow NHL players Shane Doan, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor, in October 2007. 

Iginla grew up admiring other Black hockey players, including Edmonton Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr. Emulating Fuhr, Iginla played goaltender in his first two years of organized hockey before switching to the right wing.  He is also an ambassador with the NHL Diversity program, which supports youth hockey organizations that offer economically disadvantaged kids the opportunity to play. Since 2008, he has been a hockey spokesperson for Scotiabank, appearing in commercials and at events supporting its grassroots hockey programs, as well as for Samsung Canada.  

Iginla is an avid golfer and a regular participant in the Calgary Flames Celebrity Charity Golf Classic.  Iginla is married to his high school sweetheart, Kara, and the couple has three children: daughter Jade and sons Tij and Joe. They had been dating since they were in eighth grade.  Since retiring, Iginla has resided in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. His number 12 was retired by the Flames during a pre-game ceremony on March 2, 2019.  

To become a Professional Athlete

Reference:

NHL.com

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