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Did Iginla not sign in Tampa Bay because Denver’s youth hockey is better?

Sep 3, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT

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Over at SB Nation, Bolts blog Raw Charge has a lengthy, interesting Q&A with former Lightning GM (and current executive director of community hockey development) Jay Feaster, which includes this nugget:

RC: The word is that Jarome Iginla ultimately chose to sign with the Colorado Avalanche instead of the Lightning largely due to the caliber of the Denver area’s youth hockey programs.

JF: Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve heard that rumor as well. I haven’t spoken to Jarome. I know Jarome well, but I haven’t spoken to him as to whether or not that’s true. It isn’t just in terms of having it be strong and vibrant in terms of a recruiting tool. But it’s also a case where we don’t want young people to have to feel that they need to leave the state when they get to be really good players at the age of 14, 15, 16.

It’s an interesting anecdote, especially given what Martin St. Louis had to say after demanding a trade out of Tampa Bay last spring.

“One of my biggest things, honestly, is I never see my kids play hockey,” St. Louis said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Just, for instance, my oldest has gone, since September, to Detroit three times, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Rochester, Atlanta. You’ve got to go outside the state to play pretty good competition. My wife and dad flies with him.

“I’m not saying Florida hockey is no good, but if you want to play against good competition you have to go outside.”

Again, this is all speculation — Feaster said he only heard the rumors — but it’s worth noting that, following a 16-year stint in Calgary, Iginla has changed cities three times and may be increasingly focused on his family’s surroundings. The 37-year-old has three children — daughter Jade, his oldest, and two younger boys, Tij and Joe — and, upon signing in Boston last season, made a conscious decision to move his family well in advance of the season to acclimate to the new digs.

“[My] kids start school [Wednesday], so I wanted to get here early and get as many kinks out as far as knowing the practice-route drive or learning a bit about Boston downtown, and also having some fun and just relaxing here,” he said, per NHL.com. “It is nice to be here a couple of weeks before camp and just to feel comfortable.”

  1. pjblake2redwings - Sep 3, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    “or learning a bit about Boston downtown”….. you mean Denver?

    • Mike Halford - Sep 3, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      That quote was from last season, talking about how he moved his family to Boston well in advance of training camp so they could adjust to their new city.

    • hockey412 - Sep 3, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      “and, upon signing in Boston last season, made a conscious decision to move his family well in advance of the season to acclimate to the new digs.”….

  2. gbart22 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    If he was truly concerned about his family he could’ve just stayed in Calgary and not uprooted them.

    • jpelle82 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      when i travel i’m concerned about my family, i wouldn’t want to have to turn around and travel again to calgary when i get “home” with the team.

    • hockey412 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      You mean just quit playing hockey once he was traded?

    • jpelle82 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      he was traded remember?

  3. polegojim - Sep 3, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Well… the hockey IS better in Denver.

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