By ROY MACGREGOR
Monday, November 13, 2017
TORONTO -- It seemed, at first, a forced marriage from hell.
It was early February, 1996, and the Winnipeg Jets, belt-tightening with new ownership and soon to bail out of Canada for the ill-chosen Arizona desert, decided to trade their leading scorer to the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for a couple of very high prospects that never worked out as expected.
It was, in hindsight, one of hockey's worst trades. Teemu Selanne, a Finn who adored the Manitoba capital, felt betrayed, but off he went to join the Ducks, who were then on an East Coast road trip. He caught up to them on Long Island where he was informed his new roommate would be a rising young star from North Vancouver named Paul Kariya.
At a private gathering for family and friends in Toronto on Saturday night, the two about-to-become members of the Hockey Hall of Fame broke up the room with memories of that first night.
Kariya, a fastidious, dedicated athlete - he taught himself to juggle on the theory that it would improve his hockey skills - let Selanne know that it would be lights out at 10 p.m. so that he could get his required nine hours in and be up at exactly 7 a.m.
Selanne, an easygoing natural athlete Finnish police found as hard to catch on the backroads as others did on the ice, pointed out that they were playing for the Mighty Ducks, so that they should stay up until 1 a.m. in order for their bodies to remain on California time.
Selanne wanted to watch Baywatch. Kariya liked to read before bed.
Finally, with Kariya winning the lights-out battle, the two new roommates lay there in the dark long past midnight, Selanne periodically breaking the silence with annoying questions about what Kariya thought about various women on television.
It was never going to work out.
Yet it did, gloriously. The two direct opposites in personality became both close friends and superstars in the NHL. Selanne, best known for his record-shattering 76goal rookie season with the Jets, was twice chosen a first-team all-star, took the Calder Trophy as best rookie and won the 1999 Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer. With the Ducks in 2007, he finally won a Stanley Cup after 15 years in the league. Six times Selanne played for Finland in the Olympics, retiring as the tournament's most prolific scorer with 43 career points.
Kariya was a key player for Canada in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, winning the country's first Olympic gold medal in hockey in 50 years. He played in seven NHL allstar games, was chosen three times for the first team, twice won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the player best combining sportsmanship and skill and was runner up for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's best player in 1997.
On Monday night, the two best friends, Selanne, now 47, and Kariya, 43, will enter the Hall along with three other players and two builders: 6 Danielle Goyette: The three-time Olympian (gold medals in 2002 and 2006) and eight-time gold medalist in the women's world championships, Goyette, now 51, was the Canadian flag bearer at the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Turin Winter Games and retired as the No. 2 goalscorer in Olympic history with 15.
The native of the Saguenay-LacSaint-Jean, Que., area now coaches women's hockey in Calgary.
Dave Andreychuk: Never pretty but highly effective, the big left winger from Hamilton captained the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup. Now 54, the master of the tipped shot played for the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Tampa, retiring in 2006 as the NHL's career leader in power-play goals with 274. His 640 regular-season goals rank him 14th on the career list.
Mark Recchi: Three Stanley Cups is an impressive feat, but Cups with three different teams is astonishing.
The 49-year-old native of Kamloops raised the trophy with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Boston Bruins in 2011 when he became, at 43, the oldest player to score a goal in a Stanley Cup final. Recchi retired after that victory as the third mostprolific right winger in NHL history with 1,533 regular-season points.
Clare Drake: The much-loved and much-admired retired head coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears is the most successful coach in Canadian interuniversity hockey history, with 697 wins. In the 28 seasons he coached the Golden Bears, the team won six national championships. Drake, 89 and a mentor to such NHL coaches as Ken Hitchcock and Mike Babcock, enters the Hall in the builder category. Drake won't be at the induction. He's in an assistedcare facility in the Edmonton area and will, instead, watch it on television with his wife, Dolly, and family.
6 Jeremy Jacobs: Jacobs, 77, who made his billions in the hospitality and food business, has owned the Boston Bruins since 1975 and served as chair of the league's board of governors since 2007. Six times his Bruins reached the Stanley Cup final, winning the Cup in 2011. He was the chair of the board of governors during the controversial 2012-13 lockout in which nearly half the season was lost.
This year's media honorees are retired newspaper sports columnist Cam Cole, who will receive the Elmer Ferguson Award for excellence in hockey journalism and American play-by-play broadcaster Dave Strader, winner of this year's Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.
Cole, 64, a native of Vegreville, Alta., plays the piano by ear and was renowned for tickling his typewriter and laptop keys with heart and humour. He had a 41-year career with the Edmonton Journal, National Post and Vancouver Sun that placed him firmly among the most revered general sports columnists Canadian journalism has known. In his storied career, he covered 30 Stanley Cup finals and 16 Olympics.
In the only sad note to this happy occasion, the Hewitt Award will be presented posthumously to the broadcast recipient. Strader, a native of Glens Falls, N.Y., who called games for the Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes and, most recently, the Dallas Stars, died last month at 61 following a long battle with bileduct cancer.
Strader, whose nickname was the Voice, had been told earlier this spring of his honour by Chuck Katon, head of the NHL Broadcasters' Association, Katon wishing the broadcaster to be aware the prestigious award was coming as he was undergoing intense medical treatment at the time.
On hearing the news, Strader said that the one thing he had not done during the gruelling process was break down and cry.
"You just broke that streak," he told Katon.
Teemu Selanne, left, and Paul Kariya joke around after a news conference in Toronto on Friday. The easygoing Selanne and fastidious Kariya became close while playing for the Mighty Ducks.
CHRISTOPHER KATSAROV/THE CANADIAN PRESS