Jarome Iginla couldn’t bring himself to watch Vinny Lecavalier’s recent return to Tampa, nor was he interested in seeing Daniel Alfredsson feted in the nation’s capital.

Both would likely have hit a little too close to home given the highly-anticipated return engagement Iginla has planned with the city of Calgary Tuesday.

“I kind of like surprises,” Iginla said from his cellphone earlier this week.

“We didn’t find out the sex of any of our kids, and I don’t go looking for my Christmas presents before Christmas. I’m not saying the Flames will do anything in terms of a surprise, I just want to take it as it is and enjoy it. I want to be surprised by the experience.”

In other words, as every pro athlete who makes a similar return to old haunts suggests, he has no idea what to expect.

Make no mistake about it, his 17 years as the greatest, most beloved and most prolific Calgary Flames player of all time will unquestionably be acknowledged with a lengthy ovation sure to bounce the emotional meter somewhere between goosebumps and outright sobbing. It will happen early in the evening’s proceedings during Tuesday’s game by way of a stirring video montage the Flames organization has had plenty of time to cobble together.