The Anaheim Ducks will take on the Florida Panthers at Honda Center on Sunday afternoon to try and build some momentum after a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. However, all eyes will be on legends Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya as they will be honored by the Anaheim Ducks for their induction into the NHL Hall of Fame for the Class of 2017. Both players had legendary careers in the NHL, and both spent a majority of their careers in Anaheim, helping a young franchise grow and become established in the NHL. They were not only phenomenal hockey players on the ice, but also incredible ambassadors of hockey in Southern California.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most memorable moments in the careers of two of the greatest Anaheim Ducks in franchise history.
Teemu Selanne began his NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets in the 1992-1993 season, a year in which he smashed the NHL record held by Mike Bossy for most goals in a season by a rookie, finishing the year with a ridiculous 76 goals. He did not join the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim until the 1995-96 campaign, but he went on to score 457 of his 684 career goals in an Anaheim sweater. Here are some of his finest moments as a member of the Ducks.
Only 19 players have ever scored 600 goals in the span of an NHL career, but Teemu Selanne was able to stand among the NHL’s most elite when he joined that club on March 21st, 2010 with a goal against the Colorado Avalanche.
Teemu Raising Lord Stanley’s Cup
It is every hockey player’s dream growing up to one day lift the Stanley Cup over their head. For years, Selanne, despite his high level of play, could not reach this goal. However, he would not be denied the greatest trophy in sports, as he and the rest of the Anaheim Ducks were able to blow past the Ottawa Senators in five games in the 2006-07 Stanley Cup Finals to give Teemu his first and only Stanley Cup championship.
Teemu Selanne’s Emotional Goodbye
Selanne’s illustrious career in the NHL finally came to a close at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season in the most heartbreaking fashion, with the Ducks losing in a blowout on home ice in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. However, both teams stood on the ice after the game and handshakes to salute one of the greatest players in NHL history. The moment was one of the most emotional that I can personally remember watching sports, and to this day, it’s still difficult to not get choked up a little bit watching his final salute to the fans.
Thank you for everything, Teemu.
Newer Anaheim Ducks fans may not remember the playing career of Paul Kariya, as it was unfortunately cut shorter than it should have been due to injuries and consistent concussion problems. Paul distanced himself from the game of hockey after stating his displeasure with how the NHL had been handling hits to the head and clear intents to injure. But he has returned to the spotlight, at least momentarily, to re-embrace the Anaheim Ducks community and his Hall of Fame induction. Here are some of Paul Kariya’s greatest moments in a Mighty Ducks sweater.
The Return/Goal After the Scott Stevens Hit
Paul Kariya had been known to take some devastating hits in his career in the NHL, and despite this, Scott Stevens showed no mercy as he crushed Paul in open ice while Paul was looking in a different direction. It was without a doubt one of the scariest injury moments in Ducks history, but his recovery from it is what makes this a top moment in Paul Kariya’s career.
The Overtime Goal Against Detroit in Game 1
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim looked to be taking on a very tall task when they were matched up against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the 2002-03 postseason. However, the Mighty Ducks were able to get the series kicked off on the right foot thanks to this clutch goal from Paul Kariya in overtime to give the Mighty Ducks the 2-1 victory in Game 1. They would go on to sweep the Red Wings out in a 4-0 series win, as the Mighty Ducks charged their way to the Stanley Cup Final that year.
First 50-goal Season in Franchise History
Paul Kariya scored 402 goals in his 989 game career in the NHL. During the 1995-96 season with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Paul Kariya scored his 49th and 50th goals of the year in the final game of the regular season against the Winnipeg Jets. It marked the first time in franchise history that an Anaheim player had reached the 50 goal plateau and set Kariya up to become the next captain of the Mighty Ducks, being given the “C” just prior to the 1996-97 season.
Both Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya can be credited as massive influences on the Anaheim Ducks franchise and how it became what it is today. Without them, it is difficult to imagine what the Ducks franchise would look like today, if there even would be one.
I can’t say that I have ever seen two players for a young franchise that are more deserving of a Hall of Fame induction, and as an Anaheim Ducks fan, words alone cannot express the gratitude I feel for putting Anaheim on the map and in the hearts of hockey fans all around the world. Your achievements both on and off the ice will be remembered by Anaheim fans for generations.
Thank you for everything and congratulations.