Today I’m blogging about something that’s been bothering me for a while. Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite hockey player is Jarome Iginla. He’s an amazing man both on and off the ice; I won’t pile on his accomplishments now, a simple Google search validates his certain spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame when the time comes. Despite his achievements, however, he was left off of Team Canada’s Sochi 2014 Olympic Training Camp Roster. I’ve thought about this decision, and have but one question: what???
There is absolutely no reason for Iggy being left of the roster. Simply put, he’s a legend. He’s a power forward who does everything on the ice; there are very few players who have the ability to fit into almost any role on a team as Iginla does. He’s a veteran; on a relatively young Team Canada, his experience in high-stakes hockey would not go amiss. To the haters who claim that Iginla can’t play anymore, let his statistics speak for me. He scored 12 points in 15 games for the Pens in the playoffs this past season, and was almost at point per game production once he joined the Pens, where he had good players playing aside him. How many players in the league have put up, or do put up, numbers like Iggy consistently? His playing level warrants that he at least be invited to the training camp roster.
Some people say that Iginla is too slow a player now. He is slower now, he doesn’t have the speed he once did. That being said however, it’s not so bad that it should be used to justify not inviting him to the training camp. He still does everything on the ice, and lately he’s even learned several of the finer aspects of stick-handling. If his speed is such an issue, I can still see him being utilized as a fourth-liner or a power-play pivot on a stacked Team Canada.
So if his lack of speed and age are not responsible for this snub of epic proportions, what is? I’m simply at a loss why Steve Yzerman, a class act in himself and Hall of Famer, did not invite Iggy to the training camp. Even if you’ve decided from the beginning that he won’t make the team, it’s disrespectful to deny a player like him the permission to try out. Without Iginla setting up Crosby for the Golden Goal in the 2010 Olympics, Team Canada may not have even won that game! It is outrageous to leave Iginla off the training camp roster. To add insult to injury, look at some of the players who were invited over Iggy: Milan Lucic, Mike Richards, and Andrew Ladd were invited, and Iginla was not??? To suggest that those players are better than Iginla is completely ridiculous.
Jarome Iginla deserves to not only be on the training camp roster, but on Team Canada’s Mens Hockey Team itself for Sochi 2014. I’m still shaking my team over how such a snub could even occur. He wasn’t the only man overlooked; leading the list of overlooked players for Team Canada are Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn. Iginla was, however, most definitely the biggest snub. He may still wind up on the team somehow, these things are never certain. I’m still cheering for Team Canada, but it’s certainly bittersweet after this snub.