Be A Player: Rewind | Paul Kariya

Originally aired Sept. 24, 1996, this episode features a young Paul Kariya, just beginning to build toward his Hall of Fame career!

Paul Kariya

Drafted 4th overall at the 1993 NHL Entry Draft
First-ever draft selection by the Ducks franchise
Served as Ducks captain from 1996-2003
402-587–989 over 989 GP
1993 World Junior gold medalist
1994 Olympic silver medalist 
1994 World Championship gold medalist
1996 World Championship silver medalist
2002 Olympic gold medalist
2x Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner (1995-96,1996-97)
7x NHL All-Star; 3x First All-Star Team member, 2x Second All-Star team member 
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017

The year was 1996, the host was Paul Romanuk, and the player was Paul Kariya.

Known for his speedy and impeccable ability, Kariya's mental preparation and visualization was revered around the league at an early age. He explains his pre-game routine in this week's Be A Player: Rewind episode in a sit-down with Craig Simpson. With a World Junior title and Olympic silver medal already to his name, Kariya proudly discusses how meaningful donning red and white was to him. Kariya was also part of the 1994 World Champion Canadian team that brought home the top prize for the first time in 20 years.

Yet to win gold at Salt Lake City 2002 and reach the Stanley Cup Finals with the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, some of Kariya's best moments on ice are still in the making with his heyday ahead of him.

Kariya also fondly recalls his time with the Maine Black Bears, where in 1993 he became the first freshman to ever win the Hobey Baker Award – the annual trophy handed out to the top National Collegiate Athletic Association men's ice hockey player.

Eleven NHL career games away from 1,000 games played, Kariya was forced into retirement because of post-concussion syndrome.

Then and Now

Kariya, of Japanese heritage on his dad's side, was an all-around athlete growing up, and credits his father, Tetsuhiko, as the best athlete he ever knew. He'd also take up whatever sport his children were learning at the time.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside former teammate, Teemu Selanne, Kariya picked up hockey at the untraditional age of 15. In fact, he actually got his start in hockey through figure and power skating! He also has roots in competitive swimming, which explains his new-found love of surfing – a topic he discusses in this sit-down below with Sportnet's Scott Morrison.

“When I retired, I still felt like I had a lot of gas left in my tank as an athlete,” said Kariya.“Take away the concussions, I felt unbelievable. I had my legs, I had good jump and pop in my game. So when that was taken away from me I felt like I needed to continue doing things athletically.

“I’ve done a lot of snowboarding and skiing and cross-country skiing,” said Kariya. “The Niedermayer brothers, the three of us, we do a Catskiing trip every year up to B.C. I do some splitboarding, which is climbing up the mountain on your own power and coming down. There’s a lot of things."

Take a look at the full Be A Player: Rewind episode, complete with informational popups featuring fun facts from the time and more of Kariya’s accomplishments.