Paul Kariya announced his retirement on Wednesday. The 36-year-old sat out last season recovering from post-concussion symptoms. The winger last played for the St. Louis Blues in 2009-10. “I would like to thank all of those who have been part of so many great memories — my teammates, coaches, team management and staff,” Kariya said in a statement. A two-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner for sportsmanship, Kariya finishes his career with 402 goals and 587 assists in 989 games with Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and the Blues.
Kariya, who is half Japanese & half Caucasian, was selected by the Mighty Ducks with the fourth pick overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, and led the franchise to within one win of the Stanley Cup 10 years later. The Vancouver native won Olympic gold for Canada at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Kariya won the Hobey Baker Award as the top U.S. college hockey player at Maine in 1993 and was then chosen by Anaheim with the No. 4 pick in that year’s NHL draft.
It was with the Mighty Ducks that Kariya became a star, notching three 40-goal seasons — including a high of 50 in the 1995-96 campaign — and two seasons over 100 points. He also played for the Colorado Avalanche for a season & 2 with the Nashville Predators before joining St.Louis. He announced last August that he would sit out the entire 2010-’11 season after being examined by concussion specialist Dr. Mark Lovell. Kariya has a long history of concussion troubles, including one that forced him to miss the 1998 Winter Olympics and much of the 1997-’98 season following a cross-check to the jaw by Chicago’s Gary Suter.