The RINK Hockey Academy will have a fresh new face behind the bench of its U-15 Prep Team for the 2021-22 season. On Friday morning, the RINK announced the signing of former NHL star Jerome Iginla to a coaching contract for the upcoming year at the Kelowna location.
Announcing the change to the coaching staff this early allows Iginla, 43, ample time to to prepare for the coming year of hockey. According to a RINK news release, Iginla will begin his position effective immediately, taking in many hours of scouting, recruiting and building his roster for the 2021-22 Canadian Sport School Hockey League season.
“RHA Kelowna is thrilled to be adding a coach who has a proven track record of success in coaching teams and players at the U15 level as well as years of professional playing experience in the NHL,” the RINK statement read. “Jarome will also be helping out with the U18 Prep team throughout the season. Jarome will be returning to Kelowna full time where he has spent the majority of his time during the summers throughout his playing days and is very familiar with the Okanagan region.”
The past four years have seen the now Hockey Hall of Fame inductee serve as a coach for his two sons Tij and Joe minor hockey teams in Boston, MA. Having retired from NHL play following the 2016-17 season, ‘Iggy’ has found a home in Boston, having spent one full season with the Bruins (2013-14) after playing the majority of his career with the Calgary Flames, to which he served as team captain from 2003-13.
Following his time with the Bruins, Iginla moved to Colorado for three seasons with the Avalanche, before serving as a late-season addition to the Los Angeles Kings in the spring of 2017. Through 21 seasons, Iginla scored 625 goals and added 675 assists for a clean 1,300 points in 1,554 regular season games. He added 37 goals and 68 points in 81 postseason contests.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in retirement getting to coach our boys and their teams in competitive hockey out in Boston,” Iginla said. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Canada and having the opportunity to continue to work with student-athletes, helping them to get better, work towards their goals, and continuing to develop a passion for the game.”
The Edmonton product will now be moving back closer to home as he sets up shop in Kelowna for the coming 2021-22 season.
“He’s a winner and leader. Those are two things you can’t have enough of,” RHA Director of Hockey Operations Glen Naka said. “Jarome will bring invaluable experience to our organization from both a coaching perspective of similar aged teams and a player perspective from the NHL which is almost every student-athletes end goal.”