They cheered when he was the first one out for warmup.

They applauded when the Jumbotron had him in the Boston Bruins starting lineup.

And they started the first “Ig-gy, Ig-gy” chant as the red carpet was rolled out to centre ice.

But when Saddledome house announcer Beesley introduced Jarome Iginla as the Bruins participant in the ceremonial faceoff against new Flames captain Mark Giordano, they blew the roof off the joint.

From there, the Sea of Red which Iginla had so much to do with building remained standing and screaming as a 70-second video tribute ratcheted up the decibel level to 12. Not 11. But 12.

The entire night was all about No. 12, as it should be in his first game back since The Trade.

The Hart Trophy finalist campaign, the two 50-goal NHL seasons, the two Olympic golds, the tireless community service, the playoff run, his 500th goal, his 1,000th point and the Golden Goal were all featured in the video as Iginla stood on the blueline looking up and soaking it all in.

Audio of Flames GM Jay Feaster’s trade announcement using the words “honour and privilege” punctuated the piece, setting the stage for a stirring two-minute salute entirely in the crowd’s hands.

It was a chance to say thanks. It was a chance to say goodbye.

Wearing a massive grin but looking slightly uncomfortable as he so often did in the spotlight, Iginla raised his stick to return the favour. It got louder.

He skated forward to wave to the Flames bench, eliciting another hearty roar.

He circled somewhat nervously, head down often as thousands of cameras flashed including a video cam of his proud mom in the stands, doing well to ward off the obvious tears even Iggy suggested may come from his hero. There were no tears from Iginla nor from his father, who made the trip from Jarome’s hometown of Edmonton as he so often did over the 17 years Iginla proudly served the Flames.

“It was definitely emotional — I really appreciated the fans,” said Iginla following a game in which his Bruins clawed back to win 2-1, if anyone outside Boston cares.

“It was a cool feeling — really special — and then you kind of feel funny standing there by yourself. You think back about just trying to make the NHL and then all the years I got to play for a great organization like Calgary. You don’t know what the response is going to be, but people were great — they made it special. It’s humbling. It felt great to come back home.”

Repeatedly flashing the most genuine of smiles, which helped connect him to even casual Flames fans, Iginla made another stick-wave a minute into the pre-game ovation, as if hoping the moment so many had waited months for would finally wrap up so he could get to what will ultimately land him in the Hockey Hall of Fame — playing hockey.