The door is still open for Jarome Iginla to return to the ice as a member of Team Canada this winter.
The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer remains an unrestricted free agent in the NHL. But after having a minor hip surgery, Iginla is speaking to Hockey Canada about playing a role with them in upcoming tournaments.
“(Iginla) had conversations with Team Canada this week,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported during Saturday Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada. “He’s going to begin skating in a week or two and I think Team Canada has re-extended the invitation, if he wants to play in the Spengler Cup before the Olympics, there will be a spot for him.”
Iginla hasn’t played since early April with the Los Angeles Kings. It has been reported in recent weeks that the 20-year NHL veteran was still hoping join a team, even if it was on a tryout contract.
“We all know that the NHL teams out there use the American Thanksgiving as a bit of a gauge to reassess their team,” Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said on Nov. 11. “He’s hoping at that point that there will be enough interest where at least he can find a team that perhaps he might even skate with and be in a situation, much like others have, with a PTO—player tryout—and wait for his opportunity to sign.”
Hockey Canada president Tom Renny earlier this month said that if Iginla wants to play in the Olympics, which he is only eligible to do if he doesn’t sign with an NHL team, he needs to begin skating. Saturday’s report from Freidman indicates Iginla is taking that challenge seriously.
The 2017 edition of the Spengler Cup will run from Dec. 26-31, giving Iginla one month to get up to game speed. The tournament is once again being hosted by the Swiss club HC Davos and will also feature Team Canada, HPK Hämeenlinna from Finland, Mountfield HK from the Czech Republic, Dinamo Riga of the KHL and Switzerland’s national team.
Canada has won the past two tournaments.