The NHL’s Anaheim Ducks celebrated the career of BCHL alumni Paul Kariya on Sunday, raising his No. 9 jersey to the rafters.
“it was just a perfect night. The fans were incredible and everyone speaking did an awesome job. It is such a touching night and be in my mind for the rest of my life that is for sure,” Kariya told the media on his jersey retirement night, prior to the Ducks facing off against the Buffalo Sabres.
Born and raised in North Vancouver, Kariya is a former Canadian Junior A Player of the Year with the Penticton Panthers (now Vees) and was drafted fourth overall by the Anaheim Ducks — the first player drafted by the franchise.
Kariya played 15 seasons in the NHL with Anaheim, Nashville, Colorado and St. Louis. During his 989 NHL game career, he scored 402 goals. He was named an NHL All-Star five times and won the Lady Byng Trophy (most sportsmanlike). Kariya was forced to retire in 2009-2010 due to concussion problems.
Prior to his leap to the NHL, Kariya won the NCAA Championship with Maine and was named winner of the Hobey Baker Award. He represented Canada numerous times, including a gold medal at the World Juniors and at the Olympics in 2002.
In 2013, Kariya was inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame. He spent two seasons with the Penticton Panthers, scoring 91 goals and 244 points in 94 games.
“It’s a great hockey town,” Kariya said during his B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech, held in Penticton. “It’s a great place to be, a great place to play. I certainly miss the people here.”
Kariya is one of many NHL’ers (including Brendan Morrison, Ray Ferraro and Brett Hull) that have been inducted into the Penticton club’s Ring of Honour in 2017. In 1991 he won the BCHL MVP trophy, the BCHL Rookie of the Year and sits 10th on the all-time single season 100 point club for the Penticton club.
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