ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Paul Kariya’s St. Louis Blues helmet had gathered rust over the 7 years it sat in his hockey bag, untouched until this month’s Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic. The NHL alumni game during the 2017 Hall of Fame weekend was the first time Kariya had even put on ice skates since his last game with St. Louis on April 10, 2010.
Kariya was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 13, after 15 seasons in the NHL with the Blues, Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He was the Ducks first ever draft pick, fourth overall in the 1993 NHL Draft. He is a seven-time All Star, two-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner and averaged exactly one point per game in his 989 games played in the NHL.
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On Wednesday night, he will return to St. Louis to perform the ceremonial puck drop before the Blues host the Ducks at 8 p.m. He spoke to KMOX’s Alex Ferrario and Amy Marxkors, and you can hear their full interview with Kariya on Monday night’s Wendy’s Week in Hockey Show, from 7-9 p.m.
His career, highlighted with silver and gold medals in the 1994 and 2002 Olympics with Canada, is often overlooked by his infamous concussion in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals – and the five others he suffered in his career.
He says he still has trouble re-watching the hit by New Jersey captain Scott Stevens. Karyia has previously talked about not being able to remember that hit. He has said he also doesn’t remember coming back after the hit and scoring a goal in that game.
He retired in 2011, and has since been living in Southern California spending much of his time surfing. He was tested after his career ended and told that he had lost more than 60 percent of his brain function due to concussions.
A story by TSN’s Michael Farber was produced after it was announced that Kariya would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Kariya says he’s looking forward to returning to St. Louis, being greeted by the fans at the Scottrade Center, and seeing old teammates like Keith Tkachuk. He says “Big Walt” was one of the greatest teammates he’s ever had, and shared a funny story about him with us:
“One of my great memories, away from the game, is whenever we were in Vancouver playing the Canucks, Keith Tkachuk would always come over to my mom’s house for dinner, and I swear to this day that she was always more excited to see Keith than her own son,” Kariya says.