Many fans hate him for leaving the Anaheim Ducks because he said he was going to stay there his entire career.
He bolted for a loaded Avalanche team that featured Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg after leading Anaheim to their first cup final appearance in 2003.
Just be thankful it isn’t worse. Just ask LA Kings fans about Rob Blake.
It has been 13 years since he left, now retired and still living in California. Here is why the Anaheim Ducks should retire Kariya’s number:
SOMETHING FROM NOTHING:
Expansion teams are notorious for being horrible from the get-go and the Mighty Ducks were no exception to this.
It also didn’t help that we were a team born from Disney, hence being the subject of scrutiny around the league.
After becoming the team’s first ever draft pick, he lead the team in points during his rookie year in 1994-95 and cracked the 100-point barrier the next season.
If it wasn’t for Paul Kariya, the Ducks would have been irrelevant and subject of a defunct hockey club.
THE DYNAMIC DUO
Paul Kariya created one half of arguably the most electrifying duo in NHL history with the legendary Teemu Selanne.
Their speed and scoring prowess were unparalleled to the rest of the league, giving goaltenders nightmares on a game-to-game basis.
They were always aware of where the other was, seamlessly threading the needle and creating instant chemistry.
As a result, they led the franchise to their first play-off berth in 1996-97 and had 100+ points each in 1998-99.
NCAA AN NHL HOTBED
Paul Kariya proved that college hockey can produce quality NHL players just as well as major junior leagues can.
He led the Maine Black Bears to a national championship in 1993 while becoming the first freshman to be given the Hobey Baker award, annually recognizing NCAA’s best player.
The only other player who achieved this feat was Boston University’s Jack Eichel in 2015.
Eichel went on to be drafted second overall by the Buffalo Sabres.