Jarome Iginla

March 05, 2007
March 05, 2007

Table of Contents
March 5, 2007

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
From the Editor
Pro Football
Cover Story
The Buckeyes

Jarome Iginla

The three-time all-star and fledgling yogi leads the Calgary Flames with 30 goals—including two in a win over San Jose last week

As told to Brian Cazeneuve

On the rightwing's full name: Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tij Junior Elvis Iginla
Arthur-Leigh was my dad's middle name. Adekunle was his first name in Nigeriabefore he came here [at age 18]; then he changed it to Elvis because he thoughtit was cool. Tij, which we named our [seven-month-old] son, was short forTijani, the name of my dad's dad in Nigeria. Iginla means "big tree"[in Yoruba].

This is an article from the March 5, 2007 issue Original Layout

On his parents,who divorced when he was a year old
My dad is a lawyer specializing in injury law. He's really good at Ping-Pong. Iused to play tournaments with my teammates [on the Flames], and he was betterthan any of us. My mom [Susan, originally from Oregon] was a massage therapistwho went back to school to be a music teacher. She sang the [Canadian and U.S.national] anthems at one of our games [in 2000]. We were playing the Rangers,and it was on Hockey Night in Canada. I've never been so nervous before a game,thinking, Mom, please hit every note and don't forget the words!

On his musicalexperience
I grew up in Edmonton with my grandma, my mom and my aunt involved with music.They put me in a local music festival every year from grades one to seven. Isang or read poetry. It was cool being in front of people like that, but it washard. My grandma had incentives, like buying me a new Walkman or something.

On playingbaseball in addition to hockey as a child
I was mostly a catcher and a pitcher, and I played a little shortstop [on atravel team]. I dreamed of being like a Bo Jackson and one day playing hockeyand baseball. I loved them equally, and I stayed with baseball until I wasabout 17. Hockey in Canada is so physical and intense. Baseball is intense in adifferent way.

On being anEdmonton kid and playing for the archrival Flames
I grew up an Oilers fan, and I never would have imagined playing for Calgary.It took a long time to convert some of my friends and family members. Some I'vejust given up on converting. They give me the token, "Oh, yeah, we'recheering for both teams," but it's easy to see where the real allegianceslie.

On his first NHLgame, in 1996
We had [been eliminated] in juniors the night before. The Flames told me I wasgoing to come up [during the playoffs] and watch. It's common to bring youngguys up to get a sense of the atmosphere. So my junior teammates and I went outto celebrate the season. I had an early flight the next morning for anafternoon game in Calgary [against the Blackhawks]. I was tired, but I didn'texpect to play. I came off the plane, and they told me, "O.K., you're goingto play." I thought, Oh, my God. It was good that I didn't have a chance toget nervous. It was such a whirlwind. I went into the dressing room latebecause I had to sign my contract. I'm trying to meet the guys, who are alreadyhalf-dressed, and they're saying, "Just get ready." The night beforeI'm watching on TV as a fan, wondering if I'll ever get to play in the NHL,watching Theo [Fleury], [Chris] Chelios, [Ed] Belfour, [Jeremy] Roenick. Thenext day I'm playing on the same ice as them. [Iginla had an assist inCalgary's 7--5 loss.]

On playing in theOlympics twice
Awesome. The best experience was probably the gold medal game against the U.S.[in Salt Lake City] in 2002. We hadn't won gold in 50 years. Half the crowdwere Canadian fans, half were U.S. fans. They had painted faces. They weresinging before the game. There was such passion. That was the most excitinggame I've ever been a part of. We wanted to win so bad. [They did, 5--2.]

On the hockeyschool he runs during the summer in Calgary
We have kids ages six to 12, a lot who are just starting. It's not about justtrying to put the puck in the net—it's about having fun. They love the speed,being able to crash around. Sports for kids sometimes get a little too serious,and my wife [Kara] and I wanted our school not to be. We want to teach skills,but we believe the more fun the kids are having, the harder they'll work andthe better they'll get without even trying.