<
>

Flames forward in eighth NHL season

CALGARY, Alberta -- Jarome Iginla became the first black
captain in NHL history Wednesday when the talented forward was
tabbed to wear the 'C' by the Calgary Flames.

"I have been very lucky to have played with many great captains
that I have learned from over the course of my career," Iginla
said in a statement. "I believe I am better prepared to assume
this role as a result of playing with players such as Craig Conroy
and Dave Lowry. I'm ready for the next challenge and the
responsibilities that go with it."

Conroy, Iginla's linemate, served as Flames captain the past two
seasons. Conroy and defenseman Robyn Regehr will be alternate
captains.

"Jarome and I have discussed his eventual captaincy of this
organization for some time now," Conroy said. "I strongly believe
that he has all the qualities of the leader required to bring our
club to the next level.

"If I had any sense from Jarome that he was not ready, I was
prepared to remain as team captain but there is no doubt in my mind
that at 26 years old he is prepared to assume the role."

Iginla is entering his eighth NHL season. He won the NHL scoring
title in the 2001-2002 season as well as an Olympic gold medal with
Canada at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

"Jarome is a quality young man and a terrific hockey player who
people look up to," Flames head coach and general manager Darryl
Sutter said. "His work ethic and commitment to being the best are
examples of how all players should prepare and compete.

"I commend Craig Conroy on recognizing that the time was right
for Jarome to take on a greater role as a leader and for making his
team's success the highest priority."