It has been almost 16 years since a young Calgary Sun scribe was sent to Kamloops to find out more about a teenage phenom who'd soon take Calgary by storm.
The two-time defending Memorial Cup champion Blazers were on the verge of playoff elimination in their own barn, opening the door for Jarome Iginla to make his NHL debut in Calgary soon thereafter.
Asked if he could spare an hour over lunch to help the writer introduce him to Calgarians, the 18-year-old winger flashed a shy smile before offering a suggestion.
"We can go to Earl's — players get a discount there," said Iginla, who seemed excited when told the Sun would be treating.
With that, he climbed into an aging Jeep and told his inquisitor to follow.
The most obvious line of questioning for the polite product of St. Albert revolved around the fact he'd sign his name on a multi-million contract any day.
Surely, the youngster had thought about how he might spend a few bucks.
After giving the type of aw-shucks response he's still known for, he finally offered up a thought on how he'd like to apportion some of his pending wealth.
"My mom …" started Iginla, who was raised largely by his mom and her parents.
"She had to sacrifice her education when she got pregnant with me, so I'd like to pay for her to go back to school."
A decade-and-a-half later, such a response comes as no surprise to Calgarians who have embraced Iginla as their favourite son.
However, what came next — after extensive prompting — was as deliciously naïve as the youngster himself.
"I might also buy some new tires or a radio for my Jeep."
Iginla always a class act
Calgary Sun | Jan 8