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Iginla thanks fans, wishes Flames had more success

Former Calgary Flames' captain Jarome Iginla talks to the media after the team announced it had traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Calgary on March 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Jarome Iginla says he wishes the Calgary Flames had more success while he was their captain.

Iginla talked to reporters Thursday for the first time since being dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Iginla says he is leaving Calgary with mixed emotions but that his goal remains wanting to win a Stanley Cup.

“I would’ve obviously loved it to be in Calgary,” said Iginla, who smiled throughout his news conference. “Pittsburgh is a great organization … they’ve got the two best players in the world — (Evgeni) Malkin and (Sidney) Crosby.

“It will feel good to get back into a routine and back on the ice and playing (and be in) the Pittsburgh dressing room and play there.”

But Iginla said he leaves Calgary with a heavy heart.

“I made some great friends,” he said. “Hockey goes fast, life goes fast and guys will be friends after we’re done playing.

“It’s nice to kind of go East for this really short term and not have to play against (Calgary) because it would be a little weird and I can just cheer for them and not have to think we’re battling for the same playoff spot or anything like that.”

Iginla, who was always a fan favourite in Calgary, thanked the city’s fans for their support but is looking forward to a new challenge in Pittsburgh.

He says the Flames didn’t have the success he thought they were going to have, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort.

The Flames have not made the playoffs since the 2008-09 season and will have a difficult time ending that streak without the face of their franchise. Calgary is currently 14th in the Western Conference standings.

Iginla spent 16 seasons in Calgary, recording 575 goals and 570 assists over 1,219 games.