The Nashville Predators single-season record holder for points (85) and assists (54) retired Wednesday following a 15-year NHL career during which he averaged a point per game.
Paul Kariya appeared in 989 contests with four different franchises and finished with 989 points (402 goals, 587 assists).
“Today, I announce my retirement from professional hockey,” Kariya said in a statement released through his agent. “I would like to thank all of those who have been part of so many great memories — my teammates, coaches, team management and staff. I am also very grateful for the support I have received over the years from the fans, especially those in Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville, and St. Louis. It was my dream to be a professional hockey player in the NHL from my minor hockey days in North Vancouver and Burnaby, through junior hockey in Penticton, college hockey at the University of Maine, and the Canadian National Team. I would not have achieved it without support from all of these people and organizations.”
Kariya joined the Predators in 2005-06 following the lockout, which canceled the 2004-05 campaign, played every game over the next two seasons and clearly established himself as the most prolific offensive player in franchise history.
His 85 points in 2005-06 and 76 the following season are the two highest totals in franchise history. The same is true of his 54 and 52 assists — in that order — in those two seasons.
He also tied Steve Sullivan with a team-high 31 goals in 2005-06 (at the time a franchise record). Sullivan was the first Predator to score 30 goals in a season and Kariya joined him with a hat trick on the final day of the regular season.
Nashville’s two highest-scoring seasons and their two best, in terms of wins and points, came with Kariya on the roster.
He spent the next three seasons with St. Louis and sat out 2010-11 with a head injury.
“Congratulations to Paul Kariya on an outstanding career,” former Predators first-round draft pick Scottie Upsall said via Twitter. “He was a great role model 4 me as a young hockey player.”