Paul Kariya was the first ever draft pick (4th overall) for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim when they entered the league as an expansion team in 1993. Winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the best hockey player in the NCAA, Kariya had just led the Maine Black Bears to a national championship.
As he entered the NHL with the Mighty Ducks, he quickly became a well-known and well-liked player by Ducks fans. With a deadly mix of speed and skill, Kariya rose toward the top of the NHL in just a few short seasons. Some of his most memorable years were when he played on a line with good friend Teemu Selanne.
Throughout the years, Kariya was plagued by various injuries, most notably concussions. The smaller winger was the victim of multiple headshots and missed considerable amounts of time due to injury. He was forced to sit out the entire 2010-2011 season, and ultimately to retire due to his concussion symptoms. Kariya has done extensive work to recover back to 100% health, but the risk of re-injury is too great to come back to the NHL.
Over his career Kariya amassed 402 goals and 587 assists for a total of 989 points in 989 career games with Anaheim, the Colorado Avalanche, the Nashville Predators, and the St. Louis Blues. A 7-time NHL All-Star, Kariya concludes his illustrious professional career with Olympic Gold and Silver medals with Team Canada, three times on the NHL’s First All-Star Team, twice on the Second All-Star Team, and two Lady Byng trophies.