Miikka Kiprusoff is looking forward to his jersey retirement ceremony (but maybe not the speech)
Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
There will be a festive atmosphere at the Saddledome on March 2, 2024. Not only will the Calgary Flames host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the Flames organization will pay tribute to legendary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff when they retire his number 34 in a pre-game ceremony.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning, shortly after the announcement of the ceremony, Kiprusoff expressed his excitement and gratitude for the honour.
“It means a lot for me and my family,” said Kiprusoff. “Since I hear about it it’s been cool. A lot of memories. A little nervous, but still can’t wait to come over to see all the players and fans and owners, everybody there. It’s going to be fun and I’m honoured. It’s huge for me.”
Kiprusoff made 628 combined regular season and playoff appearances in the Flames net from his debut on Nov. 20, 2003 against Montreal until his final NHL game on Apr. 23, 2013 against Nashville. During that period, he had many outstanding performances and created many indelible memories for Flames fans. But one period in particular stands out in his mind: the 2004 run to the Stanley Cup Final.
“There’s a lot of memories,” said Kiprusoff. “I remember the day when I get traded, when I arrived here I was so excited about it. But of course, I think, biggest thing is that ’04 run. It was amazing. Amazing team. Lots of fun. I think that’s the top of the list.”
During his nine seasons with the Flames, Kiprusoff finished top five in Vezina Trophy voting four times (winning in 2005-06) and finished top five in Hart Trophy voting twice. Between 2003-04 and 2007-08, he was arguably the top goaltender in the world. He’ll be the fourth Flames player to be honoured with a jersey retirement banner, following Lanny McDonald, Mike Vernon and Jarome Iginla.
Kiprusoff noted in his chat with the media that he hasn’t hit the ice as a netminder since his final NHL game, as his goalie gear was left in the Flames locker room following that season and was lost in the June 2013 flood that wiped out the entire Saddledome event level. When he’s hit the ice, he’s usually played the wing, joking that he’s not a big fan of playing goalie when a game doesn’t matter.
If you look at the Flames’ staff directory, there are several faces from Kiprusoff’s tenure with the club – including development coach Martin Gelinas, special management advisor Jarome Iginla, and newly-minted general manager Craig Conroy. Combine that with the extensive Flames’ alumni network, and Kiprusoff’s trip to Calgary should be full of fun and memories.
He’ll also be expected to deliver a short speech before his banner is raised.
“I guess everybody knows giving speeches is not probably my best part of my hockey, but I will do it,” joked Kiprusoff. “I bet it’s going to be an unbelievable day or two there. Can’t wait to be on ice with my old teammates, family and everything. We’ll see, it’s going to be fun for sure.”
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