Calgary Flames: When Will Miikka Kiprusoff Get His Number Retired?

CALGARY, CANADA - APRIL 19: Miikka Kiprusoff
CALGARY, CANADA - APRIL 19: Miikka Kiprusoff /

It has been nearly five years since the Calgary Flames franchise leader in wins retired from the NHL. Nobody has worn #34 since his departure, and when will that become official?

When Miikka Kiprusoff first came to the Calgary Flames, there was uncertainty that he could become a starting goaltender in the National Hockey League. By the time the Finnish netminder retired in 2013, he left as a franchise icon. Kipper won 305 games as a member of the Calgary Flames. He also owns a few other franchise records as well. His clutch goaltending and acrobatic saves were what resonated with fans the most.

The player retired in 2013 following the lockout shortened season. So with that, why has Miikka Kiprusoff not had his number retired to the roof of the Saddledome? First, here is why Miikka Kiprusoff deserves to have his number retired. The next question will be, when?

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

Kiprusoff Owns The Flames Record Books for Goaltending Stats

Coming over in a trade in 2003, the Flames did not know what they were getting in Miikka Kiprusoff. An unproven goaltender at the National Hockey League level, Kiprusoff blossomed into a premiere goaltender. He helped carry the Flames to within a win from of the Stanley Cup in 2004. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2006 as the top goaltender in the NHL. A workhorse in Calgary, Kiprusoff played in at least 70 games a season from 2005-12.

Despite not winning the Stanley Cup in Calgary, like what Vernon did, Kiprusoff was the better goaltender. He owns every major statistical record in the Flames franchise history. Most wins, shutouts, highest save percentage and the list goes on and on as to what records Miikka Kiprusoff owns in Flames history.

Kiprusoff’s Vezina Trophy in 2006 is the only time a Flames netminder has won the award. Despite not being at the NHL Awards to accept it, Kiprusoff continued to be among the games best during that stretch in the mid-2000s. When the team began to struggle at the end of the 2000s, his play kept them in playoff contention down the stretch. Team success cannot be faulted on Kipper, no doubt about that.

Franchise Icon

Miikka Kiprusoff is a franchise icon. When you think of Calgary Flames goaltenders, you think of Miikka Kiprusoff before any other goalie. Kiprusoff made acrobatic saves and kept the Flames in tight games when he needed to. He was a fan favorite for many years, as his jersey was a popular buy amongst Flames fans.

He was a staple in the Flames crease, and while they continuously stated that they did not want to play him more than 70 games a season, he continued to start just about every night. Connecting with the fans of this team, Kipper was the backbone of the Flames for numerous seasons.

You know you are a popular player when you have a kid dressing up as you at Flames home games.

Must Wonder If The Flames Are Being Patient In Retiring His Number

Kiprusoff is one who seems to not like much attention in accepting awards. A few years back, he did give a 13 word speech for his induction into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame. Yes, 13 words. Also, he did not show up to the NHL Awards in 2006 to receive his Vezina Trophy, either. It just seems to me that Kiprusoff did not appeal to the attention, or like it.

Also, they could be patient in terms of retiring his number because they seemed to not rush other retiring ceremonies for players. While McDonald had his number retired in 1990, Vernon had his number retired in 2007. Vernon’s playing career ended in 2002, five years before his number was retired.

There is a degree to wonder, are the Flames being patient with retiring the Turku native’s number for good?

Retire Kipper’s jersey…for good.

None of this Forever A Flame honor, where the jersey is honored and not fully retired. That jersey that Kipper once wore should be fully retired to the roof of the Saddledome. Jarome Iginla‘s day is coming soon. Kiprusoff’s status is legendary in Calgary, as he is arguably the best goaltender to don the Flaming C. The all-time leader in every major statistical goaltending category should be honored like a great one.

Five years has been awhile to wait in order to honor Kipper. While nobody has worn #34 since his departure, nobody should wear it ever again.

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We hope to have a ceremony sometime soon, Kipper. Make sure you prepare a speech longer than 13 words. If you feel that Miikka Kiprusoff should have his number retired or not, leave a comment below!