While the early retirement of NHL-great Paul Kariya may not have come as much of a surprise, the tragic end to his unfortunate story has still sent shockwaves throughout the league. A integral member of several franchises throughout his time in the NHL, Kariya left a incredibly strong impression on every city he played for. Thus, as one would expect, quite a few people have backed the 35-year-old's harsh last words regarding the NHL's stance on illegal hits.
Via Anaheim Calling:
My own time as a fan is easily marked through Paul Kariya. When I first started watching hockey, he was the main event of the NCAA ranks. I still have not seen a better college player. Through the Dead Puck era, he and Selanne gave me a reason not to do homework in high school. In college, when the Ducks made their run to the Stanley Cup Finals, I called in sick to one of my three jobs to sit in front of the television. After the latest Lockout, when the rules would supposedly bring offense back to the ice, Kariya found 85 points (in Nashville, of all places), and got me to turn hockey back on, despite a rather busy first year in law school.
For any sports fan, there is some
player careerhero or team that marks the times of their life; Kariya just happens to be mine.
Repeat blows to the head of a smallish, yet incredibly offensively gifted forward in his 30s, with the potential of an incredibly bright future shattered. For Bruins fans, this news hits a little too close to the heart.
Via Mile High Hockey:
Thanks, Paul, for being a dynamic player who was very easy to like and an absolute joy to watch. In fact, you're one of my favorites, and I proudly wear your name on an Avalanche third - the very first jersey I ever bought - to many games. You helped foster my love for hockey and made going to Ducks games actually enjoyable. You were a class act all the way and will be missed across the hockey world. Best of luck to you and warmest wishes to you and your family.
It is only after reading the massive outpouring of support for Kariya, that one begins to grasp just how many people's lives the man touched throughout his 15 years in the NHL. SB Nation wishes him good luck and good health in his future endeavors.