Kariya head­ing to the Hall

Northern News (Kirkland Lake) - - SPORTS - LANCE HORNBY

Be­fore Hockey Hall Of Fame chair­man Lanny McDon­ald could reach Paul Kariya with news of his in­duc­tion, a voice mail from a very fa­mil­iar Fin­nish num­ber showed up on the lat­ter’s phone.

Kariya, who had just emerged from the Pa­cific af­ter a re­lax­ing morn­ing of surf­ing, laughed as he played back a fran­tic Teemu Se­lanne.

“In his loud­est voice he says ‘we’re go­ing into the Hall to­gether,’ ” re­counted Kariya of the big day in late June.

In­sep­a­ra­ble on the ice in Ana­heim and briefly as Colorado Avalanche, they cer­tainly haven’t been far apart this week­end in Toronto as they pre­pare for Mon­day’s in­duc­tion.

It was Kariya’s sec­ond sea­son in Ana­heim, when the club was for­ti­fied by the mid-sea­son trade with Win­nipeg for Se­lanne. Num­bers 8 and 9 be­came feared around the league and the Ducks were no longer a funny-sound­ing ex­pan­sion team.

“I knew from watch­ing him in Win­nipeg that we would mesh well to­gether,” Kariya said. “Teemu ob­vi­ously gets a lot of re­spect for his goal-scor­ing abil­ity, but the thing that I no­ticed right away was what a great passer and play­maker he was and how un­selfish.

“I think that was re­ally key to our suc­cess. We didn’t care who scored the goals. It was who­ever was in the right po­si­tion got the puck. We clicked right away and it was just an in­cred­i­ble run for us.”

In their first full sea­son to­gether, Se­lanne had 109 points, with Kariya net­ting 99 while play­ing in nine fewer games. They were sec­ond to Mario Lemieux in scor­ing and two years later, both Ducks cleared 100 points as run­ners up to Jaromir Jagr for the Art Ross Tro­phy. They were along the top five again in 1999-2000.

“Teemu’s days in Win­nipeg were pretty spe­cial, but him and Kariya play­ing to­gether was re­ally some­thing to watch,” said Hockey Night In Canada broad­caster Jim Hugh­son. “They were one of the first teams to lob the puck out of their own zone to cen­tre ice and those two would race to it. It was fab­u­lous.”

From his ear­lier ar­rival, Kariya gave Ana­heim fans a much needed needed lo­cal hero in­stead of play­ing in Wayne Gret­zky’s shadow up the high­way in Los An­ge­les.

“I re­mem­ber land­ing at LAX for my first train­ing camp and see­ing the palm trees and it was prob­a­bly 95 de­grees that day,” Kariya said. “Com­ing from Van­cou­ver or from the Univer­sity of Maine, it was just quite a huge cul­ture shock. Now when I go around Ana­heim or Or­ange County, when the Ducks are in the play­offs, ev­ery car has got flags on it.

“It’s one of the huge hot­beds for mi­nor hockey and for kids to go play ju­nior hockey now. I’m just amazed at the growth of hockey in gen­eral in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. What­ever small part I played in that I’m very pleased that I was a part of.”

Paul Kariya

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.