In their inaugural National Hockey League season, the Mighty Ducks were one of the most successful expansion franchises, both on the ice and at the box office. But after an off-season of working to improve the lineup, they’ll now try to get to the next level--the playoffs.
Three Key New Faces
Rookie Paul Kariya is the player the Ducks hope to build around, but they acquired several others in an effort to improve weaknesses.
Valeri Karpov: Right wing
Signed by the Ducks July 11 after playing for the Russian Olympic team. Expected to boost the team’s scoring potential with his creative offensive play. Had 30 points in 32 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk last season.
Tom Kurvers: Defenseman
Acquired from the New York Islanders for Troy Loney on June 29. It’s hoped he can bolster the Ducks’ power play, the league’s weakest last season. He’s an offensive-minded defenseman who had 40 points in 1993-94.
Oleg Tverdovsky, Defenseman
The Ducks’ first-round pick (second overall) in the 1994 draft. He could be an offensive force on the power play and certainly will add size and speed to the defense. Only 18, he had 19 points for Krylja Sovetov Moscow last season.
Catching the Action
The Pond has a variety of seating arrangements, from single game to season tickets. Home arena, headquarters: The Pond of Anaheim Phone: (714) 704-2700 Parking: $6 per car, $12 per bus. Gates open two hours before faceoff, arena one hour before. Season ticket prices: Range from $810 to $5,625. (Club Concourse prices range from $4,000 to $6,800 and include all arena events.) Mini-plans: Separate 17-game plans, subject to availability, begin at $270. Single-game tickets: Subject to availability, $13-$125. In-person sales: Pond box office open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday from noon to 6. Tickets also sold at Ticketmaster outlets at Music Plus, Robinsons-May and Tower Records. Telephone orders: For individual ticket sales, contact Ticketmaster at (714) 740-2000, (213) 480-3232, (805) 583-8700 or (619) 220-8497. For group sales or season tickets, contact the Mighty Ducks.
New this season, The Jumbotron: Lots of vintage Disney cartoons about hockey, complementing the popular animated Mighty Duck attack squadron and puck-chewing goalie from last season. Also, Wild Wing goes retro with a series of psychedelic dance videos.
Team’s Vital Stats Best playmaker: Paul Kariya Best defender: Bobby Dollas Citizenship: Canada, 15; U.S., 9; Russia 5; and Sweden, 1. Note: this is for a 30-man roster. Fastest skater: Joe Sacco Average Age: 26 Oldest: Randy Ladouceur, 34 Youngest: Oleg Tverdovsky, 18 Stanley Cup winners: Todd Ewen (Montreal, 1993), Stephan Lebeau (Montreal, 1993), Tom Kurvers (Montreal, 1986) Hobey Baker winners (best U.S. college player): Kariya (1993), Kurvers (1984) Most NHL experience: Ladouceur, 13 seasons 1994 Olympians: Kariya (Canada), Valeri Karpov (Russia), John Lilley (United States) Tallest: Stu Grimson, 6 feet 5 Shortest: John Lilley, 5 feet 9 Heaviest: Grimson, 227 pounds Lightest: Stephan Lebeau, 173 pounds Highest 1993-94 salary: Alexei Kasatonov, $650,000 Highest 1994-95 salary: Kariya, $2.166 million
Sources: Mighty Ducks, National Hockey League