Usually on This Week in Ducks History, we try not to make too big of a deal about birthdays. Eventually we'll make our way through all of them, but this week is a little different. This week happens to contain the birthday of one of the most influential, not to mention divisive characters in franchise history: The One and Only,
German Titov Paul Kariya.
We'll have plenty of time to discuss Kariya's impact on Ducks history - good, bad and ugly - as the weeks progress, but since this is his birth week and the week he was inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame, let's take a look at his early life and career before Anaheim.
Athleticism appears to be the number one trait in the Kariya family gene pool. Paul's father Tetsuhiko, a Japanese-Canadian born in a World War II internment camp, played for the Canadian National Rugby Team. Paul's brothers Steve and Martin (two wild and crazy guys, sorry couldn't resist) were also hockey stars at U Maine and eventually went pro, spending most of their careers in the AHL while one of their two sisters, Nariko, became a pro boxer. I remember hearing rumors from my family members in Maine that each Kariya sibling was better than the last. While that obviously never came to fruition it's still a pretty impressive family tree.
Paul grew up an Oilers fan, idolizing Wayne Gretzky like approximately 115% of Canadians do and burst onto the NHL scene in 1994 with seemingly endless comparisons to "The Great One." Seriously, read this article from Sports Illustrated and try to count the number of times Gretzky is mentioned (hint: it's almost as many as references to Disney movies). Before that though, he left home in Vancouver at age 16 to join the Penticton Panthers of the BCJHL (Junior A) where he was named rookie of the year in 1991 and MVP in ‘91 and '92.
He was accepted to both Boston University and Harvard but chose to go to Maine. In 1992-93, his only full year in college, he scored 25 goals and 100 points in only 39 games (including playoffs). He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year; became the first ever Freshman to win the Hobey Baker Award for the top Hockey player in the NCAA; lead the Black Bears to the Hockey East Championship and in the Frozen Four Final he had three assists in the third period to help the Black Bears overcome a 4-2 deficit and win the National Championship. The next season Kariya only spent 12 games with Maine (8-16-24) before leaving for the Canadian Olympic Team.
Kariya had represented his country before. In 1991 he lead what is now known as the Ivan Hlinka Tournament with ten points on the way to a silver medal for Canada. He had appeared in consecutive World Junior Championships in '92 and '93, being the youngest player on the team in the former and winning gold in the latter. As the youngest player ever to play for Canada at the Men's World Championships in 1993 he racked up nine points in eight games while the Canadians came in fourth.
At the '94 Lillehammer Olympics Kariya lead Canada in scoring with three goals and seven points, but came up short in the gold medal shootout against Peter Forsberg's legendary postage stamp move. Later that year he would win Gold with the Canadian World Championship team in Italy, racking up five goals and seven assists in eight games on a line with Jason Arnott and Brendan Shannahan and was named the tournament's best forward.
Between the Olympics and Worlds in '94 Kariya had his first contract dispute with the Mighty Ducks kicking off nine years of ups, downs, drama and pure, unadulterated magic.
This Week in Ducks History:
Oct. 14, 1959
D Alexei Kasatonov born in Leningrad, USSR
Oct. 14, 1996
Hired Francois Allaire as a goaltending consultant. Four years later he would be officially attached at the hip to J.S. Giguere. Getting back to the present just for a moment, now that Allaire is a free agent again, how long will it take before he re-surfaces in Colorado? Ten bucks says it's less than a month after the CBA is signed.
Oct. 14, 2005
RW Corey Perry tied a franchise record for most shots in a single game by a rookie with eight in a 4-3 win over Columbus, but only ended up with an assist. Previously achieved by Milos Holan (twice 3/17/95 and 4/5/95) and Chris Kunitz (2/4/02) and since matched by Bobby Ryan (3/29/09)
Oct. 15, 1977
C Mark Hartigan born in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada
Oct. 15, 1999
Tied the franchise record for fewest penalty minutes as a team in a single game with zero in a 3-2 win at Tampa Bay. The feat was originally achieved May 1, 1995 vs. St. Louis and matched Mar. 2, 2000 at Vancouver.
Oct. 15, 1999
Paul Kariya inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Oct. 16, 1965
LW German Titov born in Moscow, USSR
Oct. 16, 1974
LW Paul Kariya born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Oct. 16, 1999
C Steve Rucchin set a franchise record for most games played with 334, scoring a goal in the team's 3-2 overtime loss at Florida. He ended up with 616 regular season games played for the Mighty Ducks, and has been passed by, who else but, Teemu Selanne - currently at 856 and counting, hopefully if this lockout ever ends. (s/t to @NHLhistoryGirl for this one)
Oct. 17, 1990
D Mat Clark born in Lakewood, Colorado, USA
Oct. 18, 1996
Lost 4-1 to San Jose, setting an unfortunate franchise record for most shorthanded goals against in a single game (Jeff Friesen, Ron Sutter and Darren Turcotte). As noted last week the month of Oct. '96 was a disaster. In doing my Kariya research I found that part, if not most of the reason for that atrocious month was that Kariya missed all but one game (6-3 loss to Vancouver 10/30) that month.
Oct. 19, 1993
C Terry Yake scores the first hat trick in Mighty Ducks history in a 4-2 win at the New York Rangers. This was also the first road game and first road win in franchise history. Yake's hat trick stood as the franchise record most goals scored by a center in a single game until last season when both Andrew Cogliano and Saku Koivu recorded hat tricks.
Oct. 20, 1965
G Mikhail Shtalenkov born in Moscow, USSR
If you want a quick giggle, check out "Things NHL Reporters Overhear: Brian Hayward Edition" http://nhlhistorygirl.com/articles/things-nhl-reporters-overhear-brian-hayward-edition--2 ...
While playing for the Johnstown Jets, filmmakers used Bruce Boudreau's apartment as coach Reg Dunlop's home in Slap Shot.
"[Slap Shot producers] came in one day & asked which guy on the team had the messiest apartment and everyone looked at me," -Bruce Boudreau
In 2008, (former Duck's AHL Affiliate) the Syracuse Crunch hoisted Reg Dunlop's no. 7, in honour of Paul Newman.
Before Brian Burke hopped on ice to celebrate Ducks Cup win, a friend said, "The Chiefs have won the championship of the Federal League!"
#STLBlues equipment guy Terry Roof saw Garth Butcher's swollen cut lip and immediately said, "He looks like a Mighty Duck."
"The finals are always the finals. They're a whole new season by themselves." - #Oilers Jari Kurri (the quote has nothing to do with the Ducks, but Kurri was a Mighty Duck at one point and Teemu's childhood idol, plus it's a pretty cool quote)
Paul Kariya took up juggling to improve his hand-eye coordination.#RandomNHLfact