A St. Albert ice arena is skating towards a name change in honour of a hometown hockey hero.

Earlier this week Councillor Jacquie Hansen proposed to rename Akinsdale Arena after NHL great Jarome Iginla, with the motion being passed unanimously by city council.

Hansen says she got the idea from a constituent who penned a letter to the editor to a local newspaper, which inspired her to make the change.

“As a hockey mom myself, I was really happy to jump on it and push it forward,” said Hansen. “He is such a gracious man, he gets involved with kids sport, and he understands that it takes a community for him to be successful. We are just thrilled.”

The decision to change the name has been met with overwhelming positive reaction, with Hansen adding that she has not come across a single negative reaction to the proposal.

That sentiment was echoed by Mike Fiorillo, Hockey Academy Coordinator for St. Albert Public Schools.

“He’s a good ambassador for the game of hockey, and it’s appropriate to be named for what he did for hockey,” said Fiorillo. “Everyone knew Jarome was from St. Albert. It was just one of those things being the pride of the city for a little bit.”

Hansen said she spoke with Iginla about renaming the arena before she brought it to council, adding that he was very humbled and thrilled at the idea.

Iginla played over 1,500 games while in the NHL with many Albertans recognizing him in a Calgary Flames jersey where he spent 16 seasons, including nine as team captain. He also snagged two Olympic gold medals at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

The 41-year-old also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings before retiring in 2018.

The arena has been named Akinsdale since it was opened in 1982. The arena was scheduled to undergo refurbishments next year, and the name change will now be included in the work already scheduled.