Miikka Kiprusoff The consecration for a special goalkeeper in several

Miikka Kiprusoff: The consecration for a special goalkeeper in several ways

On Saturday evening, the Calgary Flames will retire the jersey number 34 of former goalkeeper Miikka Kiprusoff, who left his mark on the organization and his teammates with his talent but also his enigmatic character.

The Finn was very secretive, had strange habits and a sometimes crazy attitude. In an article for Sportsnet, several of “Kipper’s” former companions shared anecdotes about the 47-year-old.

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“He didn’t open up to a lot of people and didn’t say much, especially about his personal life,” said former defense attorney Robyn Regehr. But when he trusted you, it was very pleasant to be by his side. He had a rather crude but mischievous sense of humor, and when he found someone to laugh at, he focused on it. He loved it.”

“During my second NHL season, the whole team went to Nashville and Olli Jokinen said, 'What Kipper drinks, you drink.' “I just lasted an hour, did a few dance steps on the floor and went straight to the bathroom in my hotel room,” current Flames captain Mikael Backlund recalled.

“Just before the playoffs, I'm training alone in front of the net and suddenly someone taps me on the back of my leg and says, 'Your hair is too big, get out.' By the way, I don't see anything. I turned around in shock and said, 'Do you speak English?'” humorously mentioned Mike Commodore, whose conversations with Kiprusoff were apparently rare.

It is also said that the Turku native smoked heavily and chewed tobacco. Despite being his teammate for a long time, Jarome Iginla believes he only saw him once during a fitness test.

Good memories

Luckily, Kiprusoff was more focused than ever when it mattered most. After being acquired from the San Jose Sharks in the 2003-2004 season, he led the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final straight away, posting a regular-season goals-against average of 1.70.

“I immediately noticed that it was a locker room full of really good guys, not just good players. For me it was like a second chance and everything started going well. “The whole year was incredible and so was the playoff run,” the retiree said at a press conference in Calgary on Friday.

“Even though my numbers are going up, I think it's a moment for our team. It's not just my moment, it's for the guys I played with and who helped me a lot,” added Kiprusoff, who never lifted the silver bowl.

After a twelve-year career in the National League, he gave up his career in 2013. He won the Vezina and William Jennings trophies in 2005-2006, but missed the awards ceremony.

His number 34 will be the fourth to soar at the heights of the Scotiabank Saddledome, following those of Lanny McDonald (9), Jarome Iginla (12) and Mike Vernon (30).