While most of North America is in the dog days of summer. The most recent news coming out of the national Hockey League was on July 1st when John Tavares signed his seven-year $77 million (US) contract with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
This week however, one player said good bye to the game while two players will have their numbers raised to the rafters during next season. The players are Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, and Rick Middleton.
This past week in Calgary, Iginla signed a one-day contract with the Flames and then announced his retirement after 21 seasons in the NHL.
The native of Edmonton, Alberta was a first round pick of Dallas (11th overall) in the 1995 Entry Draft from the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers.
He was then traded to Calgary during that summer and became as one of the faces of the franchise along with Lanny McDonald, Kent Nilsson, Al MacInnis, Jim Peplinski, and Theo Fleury, who wore the red “C” on the front of their uniform.
Iginla leaves the game as the Flames all-time leader in goals, games played and total points while ranking second to MacInnis in assists. He led Calgary to their magical run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 only to lose in seven games to Tampa Bay.
In the later part of his career, Iginla played for Pittsburgh (with Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin), Boston, Colorado, then finishing in 2016-17 with Los Angeles. His best offensive season came in 2007-08 when he scored 50 goals and added 48 assists for 98 points
In 1,554 NHL games, Iginla scored 625 goals and 675 assists for 1,300 points. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he played 81 games with 37 goals and 31 assists.
Iginla was a six-time all-star scoring 30 or more goals in a season eleven times seventh on the all-time list.
In addition, he wore the sweater for Canada in three Olympic Games earning gold medals in 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2010 in Vancouver when he assisted on Crosby’s game-winning goal to defeat Team USA.
The Hall of Fame? He has all the credentials to make it into Toronto after the three-year waiting period.
This week in Phoenix, the Arizona Coyotes announced that long time player and captain Shane Doan will have his number 19 raised to the rafters at Gila Casino Coliseum in Glendale on February 24, 2019 in a game against Winnipeg.
The native of Halkirk, Alberta Doan was the first-round draft pick of the original Winnipeg Jets seventh overall in the 1995 Entry Draft from the WHL Kamloops Blazers.
After his first season in 1995-96, the Jets moved to Phoenix and were renamed the Coyotes. Doan moved with the team and as the face of the franchise while the team struggled both on and off the ice.
He played 1,540 games for the Coyotes scoring 402 goals and adding 570 assists for 972 points. The franchise’s all-time leader in all those
His best run at the Stanley Cup came in 2012 where the Coyotes made it to the Western Conference Final, the farthest they have ever been as a franchise, before losing to eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles.
He played 55 Stanley Cup Playoff games scoring 15 goals and 13 assists (28 points). He also played for Canada in the 2012 Winter Olympics in Turin.
Since moving with the team to Phoenix, Doan was one of best ambassadors for the franchise and still loves there today as one of the city’s beloved sports figures.
On the same day the Coyotes announced the retirement of Doan’s number 19, the Boston Bruins announced that the team will retire the number 16 worn by Rick Middleton from 1976-88 on November 29th during a game against the New York Islanders at the TD Garden.
A native of Toronto, the man nicknamed “Nifty” began his career with the New York Rangers, but was traded to Boston in 1976 for Ken Hodge.
For the next 12 seasons, he was one of the stalwarts of the Bruins. In 881 games for the Black and Gold, he scored 402 goals and 496 assists for 898 points. During that time, Boston were among the top teams in the NHL and one of the teams to beat for the Stanley Cup.
He made three appearances in the final in 1977 & 1978 playing with Brad Park, Jean Ratelle, and Gerry Cheevers they lost both times to the power Montreal Canadiens.
He was part of the B’s in 1979 when the infamous too many men on the ice penalty was called in game seven that helped the Canadiens tie the game and then win the semi-final series in overtime.
In his last season in 1987-88, a team led by Cam Neely and Ray Bourque, Boston made an improbable run to the final defeating Buffalo, Montreal, and New Jersey to claim the Prince of Wales Conference title.
However, just like against Montreal, the Bruins were stopped by Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers in four games. Five if you remember the lights going out at the old Boston Garden during game four of that final series.
Middleton played for Canada in the old Canada Cup tournament winning the title in 1984. In his 1,005 NHL games, Middleton scored 448 goals and had 540 assists for 988 points while he had 100 points in 114 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Three men, all instrumental to the game and their teams, they will be honored.