Paul Kariya's number is finally being raised to the rafters at Honda Center.
The Ducks announced Monday that the Hall of Fame winger's No. 9 will be officially retired during the team's game against the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 21. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer's No. 27 will receive the same honor on Feb. 17 against the Washington Capitals. The ceremonies will be part of the club's 25th anniversary season.
“Paul Kariya and Scott Niedermayer both had an enormous impact on our franchise,” Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said in a statement. “Paul was the club’s first superstar player, helped put Anaheim on the NHL map and electrified fans with his speed and play-making ability. Scott led our team to the first Stanley Cup in California’s history with a Conn Smythe performance in 2007 that will be remembered in this community forever.
“Although Paul and Scott played in different eras of Ducks hockey, they shared similar traits: to captain the Ducks with class, dignity and determination.”
For years, the Ducks' failure to retire Kariya's number has been a point of consternation for fans of the team. Teemu Selanne's No. 8 was the lone retired jersey, but Kariya's sometimes frosty relationship with the club held up his own ceremony, dating back to his acrimonious split with the Ducks in 2003.
Kariya stayed away from Honda Center, but he returned last season alongside Selanne, his longtime linemate, for a ceremony to recognize their joint induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame..
“I am extremely honored and very thankful to Henry and Susan Samueli and the entire Ducks organization for this incredible recognition,” said Kariya, the Ducks' first-ever draft pick. “This is not something I ever dreamed would happen.
"I am very grateful to the community for their support, and I look forward to celebrating this special evening in October with all Ducks fans.”
During his nine seasons with the Ducks, Kariya twice won the Lady Byng Trophy and established himself as one of the biggest stars in the NHL. He led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2003, and his 300 goals are the third-most in franchise history.
Niedermayer spent the bulk of his career with the New Jersey Devils, and was a member of the squad that beat the Ducks in the Cup Final in 2003, but he also made his mark in Anaheim.
The 2004 Norris Trophy winner, regarded as one of the best offensive defensemen of all time, signed with the Ducks in 2005 after helping the Devils win the Stanley Cup three times. He was selected as the most valuable player of the playoffs in 2007 when he led the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup title, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.
“I received a very special call last week from Henry Samueli, informing me that the Ducks were going to retire my jersey,” said Niedermayer. “What an incredible honor. I’m very grateful to have played for such an incredible organization in front of amazing Ducks fans.
"I’m also grateful for the amazing teammates, coaches and training staff I was able to work with in Anaheim. Together we achieved great things.”