Photo courtesy of Hockey Hall of Fame
Jarome Iginla. Is there any argument that he is the greatest black hockey player of all time?
Iginla, drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 1995 NHL draft, was dealt to the Flames soon after along with Corey Millen for star forward Joe Nieuwendyk. It was on the Flames where Jarome Iginla carved out a Hall of Fame career.
For me, Jarome Iginla was everything you wanted in a hockey player. He fit every hockey cliche. He was tough. He was offensively gifted. He was a leader. He was gritty. He was a guy whose bad side you never wanted to see.
He is the first and only black hockey player to score 50 goals. In fact he did it twice. A 2-time Rocket Richard winner. An Art Ross and Lester Patrick winner. A 6-time All Star. 11 consecutive 30-goal seasons. 2-time Olympic Gold. A World Junior Gold. Hall of Famer in his first year of eligibility.
If there was a defining moment of his career — a moment that could perfectly put into words the kind of hockey player Jarome Iginla was — it would be Game 5 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, widely known as his greatest shift. In an era of clutch and grab, Iginla was held and hooked, cross checked, had the kitchen sink thrown at him, ripped a shot through a crowd of players in the slot which led to a rebound and ultimately, the game winner from Oleg Saprykin.
He bounced around the league towards the end of his career; with stops in Pittsburgh, Boston, Colorado, and Los Angeles.
Jarome Iginla is only the fourth black hockey player to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, after Willie O’Ree, Angela James, and Grant Fuhr. He would finish his career with playing in 1,544 games and scoring 1,300 points (625G, 675A)