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Jade Iginla’s path to gold

Jade Iginla has admitted she doesn’t know what she will do with the gold medal she won with Canada at the IIHF Women’s World Under-18 Hockey Championship in June.

“It’s on my dresser downstairs,” the 17-year-old forward said from her home in Kelowna, B.C. “Should I put it away already? And when I put it away, when will I take it out again? It’s not the kind of thing you drive around with. »

Iginla, the eldest child of Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla, doesn’t know what to do with her first international medal, but she sure knows she wants to win more.

“It’s so inspiring, I feel motivated now,” she said. I want to go back to camp, reunite with the team staff, my teammates and this culture of excellence. It motivates me a lot. »

Iginla had three points (one goal, two assists) in three games at the tournament in Madison, Wis., including an assist on the Canadians’ second goal in a 3-2 win over the United States in the final.

It was a moment her dad almost missed because she wasn’t supposed to play after suffering an upper-body injury in a preseason game against the United States. The injury forced her to miss the preliminary round of the World Under-18.

“We were disappointed that she couldn’t play and we couldn’t even see her when she was there because they are in a kind of bubble, commented Jarome Iginla. So we almost decided not to go because if she didn’t play, we wouldn’t even be able to see her. But we ultimately chose to go there to support her and we are very happy that we did. Against all odds, she was able to join her team, and every game was very exciting to watch, especially when she was playing. »

Jarome Iginla was a proud father during his daughter’s games. But he is also a former player who had 1,300 points (625 goals, 675 assists) in 1,554 NHL games over 20 seasons with the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings. He supported Jade by sporting the colors of Canada and the University of Wisconsin, and said watching her play brought back fond memories of his own games on the international stage.

Jarome competed in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, 2006 in Turin and 2010 in Vancouver. He helped Canada win gold in 2002 and 2010, when he set up the famous “golden goal” of Sidney Crosby in overtime of the final in Canada’s 3-2 victory over the United States. He also won gold at the 1996 IIHF World Junior Championship (WJC), 1997 IIHF World Championship and 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He had 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists ) in 47 matches across seven international tournaments.

“It’s great because I had the opportunity to live the experience of representing Canada as a player and to feel the pride that the players have,” he explained. I was thrilled and felt blessed to see her perform. »

He’s also learned that it’s easier to play in international tournaments than to sit in the stands watching his kid do it.

“Now I’m on the other side and I’m definitely getting nervous,” he said. My sons (Tij and Joe) were very enthusiastic. They were describing the matches. They told me: “Calm down, there are other parents around us.” I now understand why some parents stay away when their child is playing baseball and why they always sit on the outfield side. »

Jade broke into Canada’s squad after recording 28 points (18 goals, 10 assists) in 22 games last season with RINK Hockey Academy in Kelowna, where Jarome leads the men’s under-15 hockey team. She said she doesn’t feel much pressure from having a famous hockey dad, adding that all the pressure she and her younger brothers feel stems from their passion for hockey.

“The pressure is inside, honestly,” she said. I think we push each other because we all want to be successful. Of course, my father had an exceptional career, but we all want to chart our own path. »

Jade’s path will take her to Providence, Rhode Island, where she will attend Brown University in the fall. She hopes the path will lead her back to international tournaments, including the Olympics.

“I want to play at the highest level possible, that’s what you look at growing up and that’s what you’re working towards,” she said.

PICTURES : Michaeline Veluvolu and Chris Tanouye/HHOF-IIHF Images

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