On the right
wing'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 Nigeria
before he came here [at age 18]; then he changed it to Elvis because he thought
it was cool. Tij, which we named our [seven-month-old] son, was short for
Tijani, the name of my dad's dad in Nigeria. Iginla means "big tree"
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. I
used to play tournaments with my teammates [on the Flames], and he was better
than any of us. My mom [Susan, originally from Oregon] was a massage therapist
who 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 musical
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. I
sang or read poetry. It was cool being in front of people like that, but it was
hard. My grandma had incentives, like buying me a new Walkman or something.
baseball in addition to hockey as a child
I was mostly a catcher and a pitcher, and I played a little shortstop [on a
travel team]. I dreamed of being like a Bo Jackson and one day playing hockey
and baseball. I loved them equally, and I stayed with baseball until I was
about 17. Hockey in Canada is so physical and intense. Baseball is intense in a
On being an
Edmonton 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've
just given up on converting. They give me the token, "Oh, yeah, we're
cheering for both teams," but it's easy to see where the real allegiances
On his first NHL
game, in 1996
We had [been eliminated] in juniors the night before. The Flames told me I was
going to come up [during the playoffs] and watch. It's common to bring young
guys up to get a sense of the atmosphere. So my junior teammates and I went out
to celebrate the season. I had an early flight the next morning for an
afternoon game in Calgary [against the Blackhawks]. I was tired, but I didn't
expect to play. I came off the plane, and they told me, "O.K., you're going
to play." I thought, Oh, my God. It was good that I didn't have a chance to
get nervous. It was such a whirlwind. I went into the dressing room late
because I had to sign my contract. I'm trying to meet the guys, who are already
half-dressed, and they're saying, "Just get ready." The night before
I'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. The
next day I'm playing on the same ice as them. [Iginla had an assist in
Calgary's 7--5 loss.]
On playing in the
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 crowd
were Canadian fans, half were U.S. fans. They had painted faces. They were
singing before the game. There was such passion. That was the most exciting
game I've ever been a part of. We wanted to win so bad. [They did, 5--2.]
On the hockey
school he runs during the summer in Calgary
We have kids ages six to 12, a lot who are just starting. It's not about just
trying 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 and
the better they'll get without even trying.