Iginla becomes first black captain in NHL history

Updated: October 8, 2003, 5:14 PM ET

CALGARY, Alberta -- Jarome Iginla became the first black captain in NHL history Wednesday when the talented forward was tabbed to wear the `C' by the Calgary Flames.

"I have been very lucky to have played with many great captains that I have learned from over the course of my career," Iginla said in a statement. "I believe I am better prepared to assume this role as a result of playing with players such as Craig Conroy and Dave Lowry. I'm ready for the next challenge and the responsibilities that go with it."

Conroy, Iginla's linemate, served as Flames captain the past two seasons. Conroy and defenseman Robyn Regehr will be alternate captains.

"Jarome and I have discussed his eventual captaincy of this organization for some time now," Conroy said. "I strongly believe that he has all the qualities of the leader required to bring our club to the next level.

"If I had any sense from Jarome that he was not ready, I was prepared to remain as team captain but there is no doubt in my mind that at 26 years old he is prepared to assume the role."

Iginla is entering his eighth NHL season. He won the NHL scoring title in the 2001-2002 season as well as an Olympic gold medal with Canada at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

"Jarome is a quality young man and a terrific hockey player who people look up to," Flames head coach and general manager Darryl Sutter said. "His work ethic and commitment to being the best are examples of how all players should prepare and compete.

"I commend Craig Conroy on recognizing that the time was right for Jarome to take on a greater role as a leader and for making his team's success the highest priority."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index