Flames’ Kiprusoff hangs up his skates
For the past nine seasons, the fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome have seen Mikka Kiprusoff between the pipes for their beloved Calgary Flames. But after today that won’t be the case.
The 36-year-old Turku, Finland native leaves the Flames after seven season with over 35 wins, a Bronze Medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics, two Silver Medals in the World Championships (1999, 2001) a Western Conference championship in 2004, and both the Vezina and William M. Jennings trophies during the 2005-2006 season. He is the Flames all time leader in wins with 305, games played with 576, and shutouts with 41
“I decided to retire at the end of last season. I appreciated Jay Feaster and the Flames organization permitting me to take the summer to be 100 % sure. It’s an important decision for me personally, my family, the Flames organization and fans. Jay and I had conversations over the summer and nothing had changed for me and upon returning to Calgary last week, I once again spoke with Jay and confirmed with him that I would be retiring.”I’ve been very lucky to have spent 10 years of my career in Calgary. There is no better place to live and play. I look forward to taking the next year with my family to enjoy everything wonderful about southern Alberta.”
Mikka Kiprusoff on retiring from hockey
A fifth round pick of the San Jose Sharks in 1995 NHL Draft, Kiprusoff was named best goaltender and best player in the SM-Liiga Playoffs in 1999 before making the jump over to America, playing for the Sharks AHL affiliate Kentucky Thoroughblades and backed up Sharks goalie (and now New York Islanders goaltender) Evgeny Nabakov before being traded to Calgary in 2003 for a second round pick in 2005 that turned into Sharks defenseman Mark-Edouard Vlasic.
Said Flames GM Jay Feaster:
“Miikka has been up-front with us since the trade deadline that he wanted to finish his outstanding playing career as a Flames player, and that the [2012-13] season was going to be his last. We, as an organization, made it clear to [Kiprusoff] that we did not want him to make a rash or hasty decision. We wanted to give him time to get refreshed during the summer and spend some additional time to make his decision. Had we been prepared to accept Miikka’s position back in April we could have announced his retirement at the end of the season. We purposely chose to wait and give him more time to ensure this was the course he wanted to take. In returning to Calgary this month he advised us that his decision remained the same, and that he was retiring as a player. Miikka Kiprusoff has been the backbone of the Calgary Flames since his arrival here in 2003, and every night for more than 70 nights per season his magnificence between the pipes gave the team a chance to win. He inspired hope and confidence, and he made those around him better players as a result of his brilliance. Miikka will take his place in the pantheon of great NHL goaltenders, and his place in Flames history is secure. He will be missed by players, teammates and fans, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”
So what’s next for the Flames? Kiprusoff’s departure leaves a GIANT hole now in net that needs to be filled. No doubt the Flames will look to resign Leland Irving, and give guys like Kari Ramo, a former Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick or veteran journeyman goalie Joey McDonald a shot to get back to the NHL. Guys like Joni Ortio, a late round pick in 2010 who had success with the Finnish Junior National team and Laurent Brossoit, a 20 year old prospect from the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings will also get looks during Training Camp.
No doubt this is a sad day for Flames fans, but, as if any more was needed, this is proof that the rebuild is on in Calgary.