Hockey player Jarome Iginla unites faith and athletics

Professional hockey player Jarome Iginla relies on Christ as he pursues his sport.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines happiness as, “a state of well-being and contentment.” For professional hockey superstar Jarome Iginla, happiness takes on a whole new meaning. Winning games and scoring goals are great, but Iginla’s absolute happiness comes from his Savior Jesus Christ.

Passion for athletics from a young age

Growing up in Alberta, Canada, Iginla was always a talented athlete. His grandparents were instrumental in helping to cultivate his desire for athletics. They were willing and able to take him to any practices or games he had scheduled. Whether it was baseball, where he was the catcher on the Canadian National Junior Team or ice hockey, Iginla had people in his life that wanted him to succeed at sports.

“Every day I realize how blessed I’ve been in my life,” Iginla said in an interview with Sports Spectrum Magazine, “From the time I was seven years old, I wanted to play in the NHL, and to this day it’s awesome, it’s fun, and I realize that it’s not going to last forever.”

A year of victory for Iginla

2002 was an especially exciting year for Iginla–– he helped Team Canada win its first Winter Olympic Hockey Gold Medal in 50 years. After the Olympics, he continued a great NHL season, scoring 52 goals and 44 assists for the Calgary Flames according to NHL.com. That year, he won the Art Ross Scoring Trophy for most points by a forward, along with the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy for scoring the most goals that season.

Religious backgrounds

Iginla grew up with a mixed bag of religions. His mother was a Buddhist and his father was a Christian, but he went to a Catholic School. He admitted that he was unsure about which religious direction to take. He told Sports Spectrum Magazine, “Growing up I always had faith, but it was an unclear faith.” It took a conversation between himself and a friend for him to to realize his insecurities about his faith. His father was the one who ultimately shared the gospel with him and helped him along his path towards Christ.

Uniting Christianity with his sport

Being a Christian athlete is not especially unusual, but in hockey, it is something often overlooked because of the hard-hitting violence that is associated with the sport. In his interview with Sports Spectrum magazine Iginla addresses that issue, “I don’t think it’s any harder being a Christian in the NHL compared to other leagues, There are plenty of believers. Almost every team I’ve played on has had a few. I would agree that hockey players aren’t as visible as other Christian athletes, but they are there.”

Iginla wants to use his popularity to improve this issue. He is involved with a youth sports program called KidSport Calgary that aims to help financially-limited families by providing them funding for sports activities. While most athletes find happiness from the money and fame made during their career, Jarome Iginla’s desire is to give back and share his blessings.

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