Paul Kariya

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Ducks to retire jerseys of Kariya, Niedermayer this season

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The Anaheim Ducks announced on Monday that they are going to honor two of the franchise’s best all-time players during the 2018-19 season when they retire the jersey numbers of Paul Kariya (No. 9) and defenseman Scott Niedermayer (No. 27).

Kariya’s number retirement ceremony will take place on Oct. 21 against the Buffalo Sabres, while Niedermayer will have his night on Feb. 17 against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

Niedermayer, whose number 27 is also retired by the New Jersey Devils, will become the eighth player in league history to have his jersey retired by two different teams. That list includes Mark Messier (Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers), Bobby Hull (Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets), Tim Horton (Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs), Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings), Ray Bourque (Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche), Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes), and Patrick Roy (Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche).

“Paul Kariya and Scott Niedermayer both had an enormous impact on our franchise.” said Ducks Owners Henry and Susan Samueli in a statement released by the team.

“Paul was the club’s first superstar player, helped put Anaheim on the NHL map and electrified fans with his speed and play-making ability. Scott led our team to the first Stanley Cup in California’s history with a Conn Smythe performance in 2007 that will be remembered in this community forever. Although Paul and Scott played in different eras of Ducks hockey, they shared similar traits: to captain the Ducks with class, dignity and determination.”

Kariya is the big one here, and his jersey going into the rafters is probably long overdue.

He spent nine years with the Ducks, playing the best hockey of his career in Anaheim. His 300 goals and 669 total points with the team place him among the top-four in both categories. He was a superstar with the Ducks and a key part of their 2002-03 team that made a run to the Stanley Cup Final. Following that season he signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche to reunite with former Ducks teammate Teemu Selanne. He also spent time with Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues in his career.

Kariya’s career came to a premature end due to concussions, and his relationship with the NHL and the game of hockey was strained in retirement. A little more than a year ago it was mentioned by Selanne that the Ducks wanted to bring Kariya back into the fold with the team but that he was still “very bitter” about hockey.

When Kariya officially retired back in 2011 he was extremely critical of the league and the way it handled head injuries.

He was the first ever draft pick in Ducks franchise history, going fourth overall in 1993.

“I am extremely honored and very thankful to Henry and Susan Samueli and the entire Ducks organization for this incredible recognition,” said Kariya in the Ducks’ statement. “This is not something I ever dreamed would happen. I am very grateful to the community for their support, and I look forward to celebrating this special evening in October with all Ducks fans.”

Niedermayer spent the final five seasons of his NHL career in Anaheim, joining the team as a free agent ahead of the 2005-06 season. After a remarkable career with the Devils that saw him win the Norris Trophy and three Stanley Cups, he joined the Ducks where he would have an opportunity to play with his brother, Rob. It was also in Anaheim where he eventually joined forces with another Hall of Fame defenseman in Chris Pronger and helped give the Ducks one of the most dominant defense-pairings ever, a duo that helped lead the team to its first — and to this point only — Stanley Cup during the 2006-07 season.

“I received a very special call last week from Henry Samueli, informing me that the Ducks were going to retire my jersey,” said Niedermayer in the Ducks’ statement. “What an incredible honor. I’m very grateful to have played for such an incredible organization in front of amazing Ducks fans. I’m also grateful for the amazing teammates, coaches and training staff I was able to work with in Anaheim. Together we achieved great things. I want to thank Henry and Susan Samueli for this honor. I am looking forward to the special night during the 25th Anniversary season of Ducks hockey.”

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Class of 2017 humbled by Hockey Hall of Fame honor (Video)

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The 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame class was officially inducted Monday night. Two builders and five players were enshrined in Toronto and their speeches reflected on the journeys, friendships and impacts each of their individuals careers had on themselves and the people around them.

[Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2017 grew the game in many ways]

Dave Andreychuk was first, and looked back on his 23-year career, which included him noting a perk of being part of the Ray Bourque trade.

Up next was Danielle Goyette, who spoke about growing up emulating the great Montreal Canadiens players at the time, like Guy Lafleur. She also touched on just how important giving kids the opportunity to play the game is to continue growing the sport.

Mike Gabinet, grandson of Clare Drake, kept his speech short and sweet in honor of the legendary Canadian coach.

Paul Kariya pointed out two teammates in his speech: Steve Rucchin and Teemu Selanne. On the Finnish Flash, Kariya put it: “I simply would not be standing here without you. We will always be brothers in this life, and the next.”

Jeremy Jacobs spoke his time owning the Boston Bruins, and keyed on a few current players who have made a huge impact on the franchise’s success:

Mark Recchi gave plenty of love to his hometown of Kamloops, British Columbia.

Finally, Teemu Selanne reminisced about the change in weather going from Winnipeg to Anaheim and then gave thanks for his long-time friendship with Kariya.

MORE: What will the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame class look like?

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2017 grew the game in many ways

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The Hockey Hall of Fame will induct its 2017 class Monday night in Toronto. The seven individuals who will be enshrined include five players and two builders.

Clare Drake, Jeremy Jacobs, Dave Andreychuk, Danielle Goyette, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi and Teemu Selanne will join the many other legends inside the old bank building on Yonge Street forever. Their contributions as a whole, no matter their position in hockey, helped grow the game to what it’s known as today.

Builder

Clare Drake — The most successful coach in Canadian university hockey history won six national championships in 28 years at the University of Alberta. He retired in 1989 with a record of 697-296-37, which comes out to a .695 winning percentage. Drake not only contributed at the university level, he also spent time at the professional level with a year coaching the Edmonton Oilers in the WHA in 1975-76, working as a Winnipeg Jets assistant in 1989-90 and helping out the Dallas Stars during the 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was also behind the bench for Canada’s entry at the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. Drake’s last legacy may be his role in developing players and educating coaches through his contributions to the Canadian Coaching Certification Program.

Jeremy Jacobs — Since purchasing the Boston Bruins since 1975, the franchise has made the Stanley Cup Final six times, winning once. He’s been Chairman of the NHL Board of Governors for the last 10 years was the recipient of the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2015 for his “outstanding service to hockey in the United States.”

Player

Dave Andreychuk — Only 13 players in NHL history have scored more goals than Andreychuk, who put up 640 in 1,639 NHL games. Of those 640 goals, 274 came on the power play, the most in NHL history. A two-time All-Star and 2004 Stanley Cup champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning, ‘Andy’ hit the 50-goal mark twice in his career. It also hard to imagine many of his goals that weren’t scored from around the blue paint.

Danielle Goyette — A two-time Olympic goal medalist and eight-time winner at the World Championship as part of Team Canada, Goyette hung up her skates with 113 goals and 105 assists in 171 games representing her country. During the 1998 Olympics, she led all players with eight goals. Four years later, in helping Canada win gold, she tied for the scoring lead with 10 points. In 2006, as she helped her country to a second straight gold, she was selected as flag bearer during the Opening Ceremonies. Currently, Goyette is the second-leading scorer in women’s Olympic history with 15 goals.

Paul Kariya — Kariya’s hockey accomplishments didn’t just come while part of the NHL. Before he was drafted fourth overall by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, he won the World Junior Championship with Canada and later the NCAA title with Maine in 1993. A year later he would win gold at the World Championship and in 2002 was part of the Olympic winning Canadian side at the Salt Lake Games. Eleven games shy of 1,000 games for his career, he finished with 402 goals and 989 points — on the dot to be a point per game player over his career. A two-time Lady Byng winner and seven-time All-Star, Kariya is well-remembered for his goal during the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, which came 10 minutes after a vicious hit from Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils:

Mark Recchi —One of four players in NHL history to play more than 1,700 games, Recchi enters the Hall as a five-time Stanley Cup champion, three of which came during his playing career. He’s one of 10 players in history to win a title on three different NHL teams, and his career ended with 577 goals and 1,533 points. Outside of a 15-game first NHL year, he scored double digit goals in 21 straight seasons.

Teemu Selanne —Selanne introduced himself to the NHL world in spectacular fashion with a 76-goal, Calder Trophy winning rookie season in 1992-93. The goals continued over the next 22 years as the “Finnish Flash” scored 684 of them, good for 11th all-time. He’s also the all-time leading scorer in Olympic history with 43 points in 37 games. His trophy case is filled with one Stanley Cup, a Masterton Trophy, Rocket Richard Trophy, four bronze and one silver Olympic medals, and silver and bronze from the World Championship, among many other honors. We all, of course, remember the goal and celebration that helped him break the rookie goal scoring record in 1993:

Also being honored in Toronto are Cam Cole, winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award “in recognition of distinguished members of the newspaper profession whose words have brought honor to journalism and to hockey” as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, and late NHL play-by-play man Dave Strader, who is this year’s Foster Hewitt Memorial Award honoree for his outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

What are you favorite memories from this year’s inductees?

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.