Kipper Officially Retires

Mikka Kiprusoff

– pic via Terry Dobbins

It’s been a long wait, but today Miikka Kiprusoff officially announced he will be retiring from NHL hockey. The 37 year old had a rough end to his career with Calgary, stumbling badly during the lock-out shortened season and then putting the kibosh on a trade deadline swap that would have seen him go to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Not that the rocky conclusion to his days in Calgary will leave any kind of lasting impression on his legace as a Flame. For a time, he was the best goalie in the game and may in fact be recognized as the best puck stopper to ever wear the Flaming C, despite never managing to win a cup. Kipper’s reputation outstripped his performance level during some of his final seasons, but he was one of the primary reasons the club was considered a contender when he was at his peak.

We’ll publish a more complete requiem for Kipper later this week. For now, thanks for everything Miikka and good luck.

  • Is it better to burn out or to fade away?

    Thanks to Kipper for his service, but at the end, he was an oversized Finnish anchor, weighing down the future of the organization. And his exit was rather undignified with all the mind games, “will he?” or “won’t he?”.

    I wonder if the Flames have any plans on bringing Kipper into the fold as a staff member. Goalie coach? Goalie scout? Vodka expert?

  • schevvy

    Kipper had a 3 season stretch from 2004-2007 where he was the best goalie in the league. He, even more so than Jarome, is why the Flames made their run in 2004. If he didn’t get hurt that year he would’ve won the Vezina. Always had a flair for the dramatic.

    A Vezina Trophy, A 3-time Vezina Trophy finalist, the best goalie in Flames history. All for a 2nd round pick. Unreal.

    Thank you Kipper

  • Craig


    I remember when Kipper was the bane of the Canucks, all the fans would say: “You only beat us because of Kiprusoff!” and a lot of the times that was true. Thank you Kipper for being a Canuck killer.

  • Iggy was great but Kipper was the one that led us out of darkness. He was our saviour. I remember saves in that Vanc series in 2004 that defied anything I have ever seen. I don’t care what anyone says, but with the right team, he still has it. Kipper just seemed timeless. With Iggy & Kipper in their primes, we should have had at least 1 Cup. They were both that good! Time marches on but my memories will all always stand still. Gilles Godspeed please! Officially today there is a hole in the Flames world.

    • “He liked to drink lots of vodka, smoked before/during/after all games and practices, and he was generally a grumpy Finn who played up his accent because he didn’t want to talk to reporters.”

      I think that sums it up. There’s nothing that would shock me with Kipper. Vodka in the water bottle? E-cigarette in the catching glove? Strippers stuffed in his locker? Pfsh.

  • the forgotten man

    Vernon – 1A and Kipper – 1B…maybe just sentimental or been a Flames Fan for too many years to count, but Kipper never had to go up against the 80s Oilers like Vernon did on a regular basis both season and playoffs. The 2000s Vancouver Canucks could not hold the jockstrap of the 80s Oilers – pains me to always say it but that Oilers era Team is the best that ever was and probably the best the NHL will ever see with the economics and structure of the Game.
    Embarrasment that Vernon not in HOF and Kipper should be there too.

  • This is a bit random, but there’s not really a better place for it.

    According to Dreger, Taylor Hall has been practicing as a C the last 6 weeks. Pretty good too, apparently. Not so sure how I feel about that because it just means he gets better in both ends. Scares me a bit.

    • beloch

      It just means the Oilers have bugger-all for first-line centers with the Nuge still out. Perhaps it will improve Hall, but having so little depth is definitely going to hold the Oilers back this season.

      As for the man who helped make public flashing a part of Calgary’s culture by being uncommonly excellent at keeping a little piece of rubber out of a big net… So long and thanks for all he saves Kipper! Hopefully you won’t be a stranger around town the next time the red mile gets hedonistic!

  • RKD

    Congrats on a fantastic career, thank for the memories. Wish it would have ended on a more positive note.

    To me Kipper is the greatest Flames goalie all time, not just based on stats. A lot of people give the nod to Vernon because he won the Stanley Cup. The reality is the team in front of Vernon was of an all-star caliber. The team was full of elite forwards and defencemen. Who did Kipper have in front of him in that 2004 Cup run, an elite power forward named Jarome Iginla. No other truly elite guys on that roster.

    If you put Vernon on the 2004 team, I don’t think he takes you to the finals. Moments that stand out is the Scorpion save and that series against Detroit in which we were outshot like 255-125. He was stopping 40 plus shots a night in a playoff series.

    • redricardo

      Nope. Cap circumvention only applies in cases of 7 year contracts or more. Or something like that. Either way, Elliot Friedman answered that question on Twitter earlier today.

  • redricardo

    So with the inevitable accolades the Kipper will have coming his way, for being one of the all time great Flames…

    Is there anything that we can do as fans to pressure the organization into ending their “Forever a Flame” thing? It’s beyond lame.

    I would much rather see a jersey hanging in the rafters one day… you know… like how a normal team would do it

  • Reidja

    Hello darkness my old friend.

    What is that one enduring vision of Miikka Kiprusoff that we will all remember?

    A man, having been scored upon, removing his mask and looking on, not looking in. Ready for the next play. Ready for the next season. Ready for what comes next.

    Ultimately his NHL career was shaped by his extraordinary work for our team – a team for which he toiled. A team which, almost miraculously, peaked in his breakout season of 2004. But goodness, he did not peak. Kipper played the most consistently elite hockey of any Calgary Flame player since the glory days.

    We all owe him a debt, and he asks for none. The sound of silence.

    Thank you Kipper.