Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla has withdrawn from the 2011 All-Star game due to an illness in his family.
"It's an honour to get selected and each [All-Star Game] I've played in has been a great time," expressed Iginla. "I've really enjoyed the experiences, but I have some personal things and would like to go home. I'm very close with my grandma and she has some health challenges and I'd like to take the family home and go see her and spend the weekend there."
"I've been blessed to have great grandparents and spend a lot of time with them," added Iginila. "My parents were divorced, my mom was working a lot and my dad was going to school. I would go [to my grandparents' house] after school and they would take me to hockey. I'm very, very blessed to have them and I'm very close with them."
Iginla has 19 goals and 23 assists this season and has previously appeared in five all-star games.
"I look forward to seeing my grandma, I don't know how many more times I will get to. It's a personal situation and I really appreciate the league's support and the Flames' support."
Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere, who has 24 goals and 17 assists this season, will replace Iginla in the lineup. This will be his second All-Star Game. He was named MVP of the 2007 game after he scored one goal and four assists as a member of the Buffalo Sabres.
The news arrives as the game already has the potential to be without other key players. Injured Penguins captain Sidney Crosby remains questionable for the game, while Oilers' all-star forward Ales Hemsky suffered a concussion during Tuesday's game against Minnesota and could be out for an indefinite period.