Kiprusoff’s #34 To Be Retired by the Flames

Sergei Belski - USA Today Sports

In looking at the Calgary Flames and their history of goaltenders, there are really only two names that stand out.

The first is Mike Vernon. Vernon, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this November, helped the Flames win a Stanley Cup in 1989 while also accomplishing the following while with the franchise:

– 526 career games played
– 81 career playoff games played
– 262 career wins
– NHL Second-Team All-Star for the 1988-89 season
– NHL All-Star Game in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1993
– Had his jersey retired on February 6, 2007

The second name is one who will also have his jersey retired. This event will happen on March 2, 2024, prior to the Flames taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins.  

If you do not know the goalie already, it is Miikka Kiprusoff. Kiprusoff did everything and more for the Flames starting during the 2003-04 season.

That year, he carried the Flames to within one win of the Cup as they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. During that run, Kiprusoff went 15-11 with a 1.85 goals-against average, a .928 save percentage, and five shutouts.

He got his team into the playoffs by having a great regular season. He was 24-10-4 with a 1.69 goals-against average, a .933 save percentage, and four shutouts in 38 games.

Kiprusoff was even better the next season, which was in 2005-06 due to the strike in 2004-05. He won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender as he was 42-20-0-11 with a 2.07 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage, and 10 shutouts.

There are many reasons why Kiprusoff has earned his #34 jersey retirement. For starters, he was consistent.

Kiprusoff won a lot of hockey games. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins with 305 and he added another 25 in the postseason.

While that number may not seem all that impressive, Kiprusoff did not play behind a great defense. He faced a lot of shots on a nightly basis, and he more than did his part in helping his team win games, even ones that they had no right winning.

Secondly, his accomplishments with the club are terrific. Just take a gander at the kind of numbers he posted with the franchise:

– 305 wins (Franchise leader)
– 2.46 goals-against average
– .913 save percentage
– 41 shutouts
– 576 games played
– 2006 Vezina Trophy Winner as the league’s top goaltender
– 2006 Hart Memorial Trophy finalist as the league’s most valuable player
– 2006 NHL First-Team All-Star
– 2006 William M. Jennings Trophy winner
– Played in the 2007 NHL All-Star game

Lastly, he did everything but win the Cup for the Flames. He won a lot of games, got them into the playoffs many times, got them to within one win of the Cup, made a lot of big saves, and was usually the reason why the Flames had any kind of success.

Kiprusoff has more than earned this moment. 

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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