Just after the Iginla era ended in Calgary, Miikka Kiprusoff also closed the door on his time with the Flames. Even though we all knew it was coming, Kipper has officially announced his retirement from the NHL. When Iggy left the franchise, I took comfort in the fact that at least I could still watch him play, even if that meant that he would be playing on a different team. But the end of Miikka’s career brought a tear to my eye because I have watched him through his entire time with the Flames organization, from beginning to end. It’s hard to watch a career come to an end, regardless of how great of a career that it was. Watching your favourite player hang up his skates permanently is always hard.
Miikka Kiprusoff was a fifth round pick for the San Jose Sharks and then fate stepped in when he was traded to the Calgary Flames in the 2003-2004 season. During his first year with the Flames, Kiprusoff recorded his best stats in the NHL. His regular season GA were 1.69 while his playoff GA was 1.85. His save percentage was an impressive .933. He led our team down the Red Mile during a legendary run at the cup in 2004 which stole the hearts of many hockey fans. In 2006 he won the Vezina Trophy for best goalie in the NHL and the Jennings Trophy for giving up the fewest goals in a season.
Kipper has always been known for elusive, quiet demeanor on and off the ice. He’s a private and focused man who never let his emotions get the better of him during games. Even in the midst of the worst seasons, Kiprusoff never faltered and remained the backbone of a crumbling team. The only time I can remember Kipper showing any emotion on the ice was during his last game at the Dome when he played against the Ducks, a game that we had won with a final score of 3-1. The standing ovation that he received and the final salute that he gave to his adoring fans in Calgary that night will forever be burned into my memory. No, Miikka’s last season wasn’t his best, but, considering he played a mere 24 games and retirement seemed imminent, he earned the right to enjoy his time.
And now, after nine seasons in Calgary, Miikka Kiprusoff has decided to retire after playing 622 glorious games as the starting netminder for the Flames franchise. The man, the legend, has solidified a place in Flames history and he has also earned a place in my heart as my favourite goalie.
Thank you, Miikka Kiprusoff for everything you’ve done for the team, the organization, and the fans. It is now time for us to salute you by letting you go because you have earned your choice, your will, and your happiness.