Jarome Iginla has been called the best player in the world by fans, media, and NHL players alike, but his rise to greatness was slow and methodical, not meteoric. He played junior hockey in Kamloops where he went from being a bench warmer to being a key contributor to two Memorial Cups. During his junior career, Iginla also helped Canada win a gold medal at the 1996 World Junior Championship. Once he got to the NHL, with Calgary, Iginla also developed at a pace. He peaked in 2001-02, a season that started with four days of playing with the best players in Canada at a mini-training camp leading up to the final preparation for the Olympics in Salt Lake. He was named Calgarys captain before that NHL season began. Early in the NHLs regular season, he played so well that Wayne Gretzky called him the best player in the league. Iginla went on to score two crucial goals in the gold-medal game at the Olympics, helping Canada beat USA 5-2 and claim its first gold in half a century. Iginla returned to the NHL and scored 52 goals, tops in the league, and 96 points (also tops). He was named the Lester B. Pearson Award winner for his amazing season. Iginla also played for Canada at the 2004 World Cup winning team after leading the league in goals again in 2003-04. He represented Canada a fourth time, at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, and remains an inspiration to players across the country for his skill as a player and demeanour as a person. He is widely regarded as the most congenial ambassador for the game today. Polite, articulate, and accommodating, Iginla has an infectious smile and pervasive optimism that makes everyone around him play better on the ice and feel better off it.