Iggy: 'We're sorry'

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

To no one's surprise, J.I. took a radically different approach than J.R. yesterday.

More than a week after Jeremy Roenick punctuated a charity golf tournament with an invitation for disgruntled fans to smooch his derriere, Jarome Iginla used his tourney to relay a slightly different message:

"We're sorry," said Iginla.

"I think everybody involved with this is sorry it took a year. All the people who this took jobs from, or had bars or restaurants ... it goes right down the line how it affected people in different cities. There's no question we're sorry. Hopefully we work together as a group and down the road learn from it and be better next time."

Cue the group hug. OK, maybe not.

To those who've forgotten just how passionate and sincere some players like Iginla truly are, you can be forgiven for holding a grudge. It may take years for some to embrace the game, the players, the owners or anything to do with hockey again. Some may never come back. Iginla understands that.

"It's been very hard on the fans and a lot of them have been peeved off and rightly so," said the Flames captain, who once again put his name to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation tourney at Valley Ridge Golf Course.

"The fans didn't really have any say in this. I think everybody recognizes that and, hopefully, this is a chance for us to make a couple changes -- to make the game more fan-friendly and entertaining so the fans can benefit and we can win some of them back."

Among the rule changes Iginla is pushing for is the introduction of a shootout to solve deadlocks.

"I've seen a lot of good ideas but the one I'm really hoping for is that they'll get rid of ties. I've never been a big fan of ties at all," said Iginla, who was recently named to Team Canada's Olympic camp for 2006.

"When the Oilers and Flames play and you leave as a tie, it just feels so unfinished."

The same can be said of the ongoing CBA negotiations that are, by all accounts, on the verge of being completed any day now. Iginla says he, for one, will ratify whatever the executive committee negotiated.

"We put a lot of faith in them and, speaking personally, I'll vote 'yes,' " said the restricted free agent, who is confident he'll sign on as a Flame.

"I don't think (the union) would vote it down -- I really hope not."

As for Roenick's comments, Iginla could only shrug.

"He's had some good interviews since but that was a tough one," said Iginla, then asked if he thought the players looked like "idiots," as Roenick suggested.

"There are going to be questions afterwards. Even as a group of players it's something we'll look back on -- as we should -- and see if we should have done things a little bit differently or not. Right now, it's just more exciting about having this deal done and starting to put this behind."

And for many players, including hundreds who feel they got shafted by Bob Goodenow and/or the owners, letting go of all that frustration might take a while.

"There are a lot of emotions, believe me, missing a year of your livelihood," said Iginla.

"I don't think there'll be a huge grudge held because we realize going forward we're going to be partners and we'll try to improve and grow together."

Easier said than done.

And with that in mind, he took the first step yesterday by apologizing: The only decent thing to do.


Videos

Photos