Teemu Selanne has jersey retired without buddy Paul Kariya
Teemu Selanne, also known as the Finnish Flash, was the first player in Duck’s history to have his jersey retired. It was a fitting honor for one of the game’s true gentleman. “It was a proud moment,” Selanne recollected. One that he and the fans of both Winnipeg and Anaheim will never forget.
Teemu’s pride at being the first number to be raised in Anaheim was clearly visible. Anaheim has a lot of significant history. Some great players have donned the uniform such as Scott Neidermayer, Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya.
It was the Kariya’s absence however that was noticeable. Paul could easily be considered as important or as popular as Teemu himself. According to reports, Kariya had already committed to a family ski trip and could not attend. Of course, some of his former teammates tried to get him to come but to no avail.
Paul Kariya was forced to retire in 2011 and did so bitterly. After the announcement he was interviewed by the Globe and Mail about headshots. Here’s the quote:
“If you want to get rid of it, I’m a believer that you don’t go after the employees, you go after the employers,” said Kariya. “The first concussion I had, on a brutal, blindside hit, the guy got a two-game suspension. That was in 1996. The last one, from (the Buffalo Sabres’ Patrick) Kaleta, was exactly the same play, and he doesn’t get anything.”
Selanne was upfront about his friend Kariya not in attendance per Josh Cooper of Yahoo Sports. “I think time heals. There’s something that he doesn’t like to be part of hockey right now. That’s my next challenge, to get him back in hockey,” Selanne said. “I think right now he doesn’t want to be a part of it and I respect that.”
Eventually, Paul Kariya will have to come back. The Ducks will surely be looking to honor him and his accomplishments in the near future. A number 9 should be joining that 8 very soon.
Regardless, it didn’t take away from a wonderful ceremony that delayed the Jets and Ducks for over 90 minutes. Henry Samueli saluted Teemu and thanked him for his amazing career. “You are permanently ingrained in the soul of the Anaheim Ducks franchise,” he said to a touched Teemu and adoring crowd.