Jarome Iginla played in Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome for the first time since he was traded back in March last night. The Boston Bruins won the game 2-1, but I really didn’t care who won the game. Yesterday was all about Jarome Iginla, and the game certainly brought on a lot of emotions. I tried to get tickets to the game, but they sold out the very first day they went on sale; clearly this was one of the most, if not the most, anticipated game of the Calgary Flames’ season.
Prior to the game, there were massive media scrums in front of Iginla’s stall in the visitors’ locker room. The size of the scrum was amazing; attention like that on one player isn’t normally seen in non-playoff games. It was great to hear from Iginla, as it always is. There was a ceremonial puck drop prior to the game. Normally, the captains from both teams are called upon to take part, but instead of Zdeno Chara, captain of the Bruins, Iginla was called up to represent the Bruins. That simply goes to show how much he meant to the organization. After that, a tribute to Iginla was played. It was a great tribute, celebrating all of his greatest moments with the team, as well as recognizing what a fine man he was off the ice. He was given a standing ovation for close to three minutes, and he awkwardly accepted it, still the humble man he always was. It was great to see that the announcer still called his name with the enthusiasm reserved for members of the home team; it felt as though he had never left the team. The standing ovation was well deserved (in my mind, there was never even a question on whether or not he would be cheered), and the crowd thanked Iginla very well.
Iginla played a solid game, with a couple of big scoring chances. I’m kind of happy he didn’t register a point against the Flames; it might go down in history that he scored 1095 points for the Flames, but 0 against. Both teams played very well, but the Bruins erased a one-goal deficit late in the third period by scoring two quick goals. Again, the outcome of the game didn’t really matter to me; it was all about Iginla. After the game ended, he was picked as the third star of the game (a bit of a surprise, I thought he would have gotten first star). The crowd gave him one final ovation, and the Bruins made Iginla take a couple of victory laps around the ice. It was a nice move by them, and the crowd loved giving Iginla what he deserved.
It was great to see Iginla back in Calgary, but it felt very wrong on a deep level to see him face the Flames on another team. Seeing the tribute and the recognition he got was very emotional. No one deserves to win the Stanley Cup more than Iggy does, and I certainly hope the Bruins can win it this year, so he’ll come back to Calgary to retire. Although he’s thoroughly missed by all Flames fans, seeing him win the Stanley Cup will be something everyone hopes for. No matter which teams he wins it with, or who he plays with, Jarome Iginla will always be the face of the Calgary Flames.