SUN Hockey Pool

Iggy enjoys time with biggest fan

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

ATLANTA — Jarome Iginla’s grandmother may not be in the greatest of health, but she’s well aware of what goes on in her grandson’s life.

So when Iginla passed up on the NHL All-Star Game festivities in Raleigh, N.C. last weekend to visit her, she was up to date on what was being said.

“She prefers aging grandmother rather than ailing,” Iginla said with a laugh Thursday afternoon.

Fran Schuchard had clearly taken note of the stories that came out after Iginla politely declined his all-star spot to spend quality time with family in the Edmonton area.

“She got a lot of calls from people, which is nice,” said Iginla, whose decision had some wondering if his maternal grandmother was seriously ill.

“Thankfully, it’s not like it’s immediate. She’s kind of had a tough year — fully lost her eyesight in the past year — and my grandfather. She’s been down.

“I’m very happy we went home.”

Fran’s husband, Rick, passed away last spring, and the pair were as good as surrogate parents with a big influence on Iginla growing up.

Because of a hectic NHL schedule that allows just a couple of days off around the holidays and the fact he’s a father of three, Iginla hasn’t made it up north for Christmas for a couple of years.

“The kids want to be in their own beds for Santa Claus now,” Iginla said.

He knows his family has been missed.

“She really appreciates having the house full and kids making noise. We kind of had a family party Saturday. It was fun,” Iginla said of spending all-star weekend with his 89-year-old grandmother. “It was good to be home. As much as she never likes to say she’s not feeling great, it was good to be home. You never know how many opportunities you have. We spent a lot of time with the family.

“I appreciate the support from the league and the team. Fans, too.”

His biggest fan may be Fran, who despite losing her sight continues to keep tabs on the team and listens to games.

“Absolutely. She knows how we’re doing,” Iginla said, a smile crossing his face every time he thinks of his grandma. “I get the odd supportive call. Her favourite line is I need to follow through on my shot, to shoot harder.

“She’s a huge fan.”

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


Videos

Photos