(This article was originally published on Feb. 11, 2021)
In their 26 year history, the Victoria Grizzlies have only one BC Hockey League championship. One of the backbones of that 2001 championship team was goaltender Jordan Sigalet.
Sigalet backstopped the team to a game seven win against the Merritt Centennials. He committed to Bowling Green University in Ohio for his NCAA career. While there, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Despite the diagnosis, Sigalet played professional hockey for several seasons. He played in the American Hockey League and for several European teams before ending retiring. Despite no longer playing, Sigalet continues to be involved with the sport as the director of goaltending for the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames.
With this article, I’ll trace Sigalet’s playing career from the Delta Ice Hawks to Gazavork Univer in Russia. I also want to give a brief explanation of MS and its effects on those who have the disease.
The effects of multiple sclerosis
According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system. The immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibres.
MS causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
Symptoms vary widely, with some people losing the ability to walk. Others may have periods of remission without any new MS symptoms appearing. And there is no cure for the disease.
From junior to pro
Sigalet played 30 games of junior B in the Pacific Junior Hockey League with Delta during the 1998-99 season, finishing with a 2.35 goals-against-average.
He was recruited to the Salsa for the 1999-00 BCHL season. In 33 games, Sigalet had a 3.22 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Sigalet’s numbers improved as a sophomore the following season.
Sigalet had an impressive final season of junior hockey in 2000-01. In 48 regular season games, Sigalet finished with a 3.03 GAA and a .919 SV%.
During the playoffs, Sigalet played 18 playoff games, compiling a 2.62 GAA and a .929 SV% as he backstopped the Salsa to its first championship. Later that year, he was selected 209th overall by the Boston Bruins in the NHL Draft.
After winning the championship, Sigalet left Victoria for the Bowling Green University Falcons. While playing for Bowling Green, Sigalet was diagnosed with MS in March 2004. He kept his diagnosis a secret but told everyone in a press conference six months later.
Despite his fears, Boston kept Sigalet’s draft rights. MS didn’t stop him from putting up impressive numbers in his final year at Bowling Green. In 32 games, Sigalet had a GAA of 2.89 with a .915 SV%.
His first year with the Providence Bruins saw him improve further. In 37 games with Boston’s AHL affiliate, Sigalet had a record of 19-11-2 along with a 2.55 GAA and a .900 SV%. On January 7, 2006, Sigalet got called to backup Bruins netminder Andrew Raycroft.
Then, Raycroft sprained his ankle late in the third period. Sigalet made his lone NHL appearance against the Tampa Bay Lightning and didn’t give up a goal in the last 43 seconds of the game.
Sigalet played two more seasons in Providence.
During the 2006-07 season, he played 25 games in the AHL, earning a record of 15-5-2, a 2.39 GAA, and a .915 SV%. In his final year in Providence, the New Westminster product had a 12-5-1 record with a 2.52 GAA and a .903 SV% in 19 games.
After the 2007-08 season, Sigalet went to Europe. He played twelve games split between three separate teams. These teams were the Vienna Capitals, the Gazovik Tyumen, and the Gazovik Univer, before Sigalet hung up his skates.
After ending his playing career, Sigalet joined the staff of the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips. In Everett, he served as goaltending coach during the 2010-11 season. After that season, he joined the staff of the Abbotsford Heat of AHL, which was the Calgary Flames minor league affiliate. He would serve as the Heat’s goaltending coach from 2011-14.
During the 2014-15 season, Sigalet joined the Flames staff as goaltending coach. This past December, the Flames promoted Sigalet to their director of goaltending.