Prospects to Scrimmage; Marchant,Kariya Retire

They were drafted on Friday and Saturday, and there won’t be much time for it to sink in to the young prospects coming to Anaheim for a conditioning camp this week.  The seven players drafted over the weekend, including Rickard Rakell in the first round, will be joining 15 others in Southern California this weekend.  

Emerson Etem, drafted in the first round last year, and Devante Smith-Pelly, also drafted in 2010, will be part of group as well.  Both Etem and Smith-Pelly had impressive training camps last September and both of them attributed their success to the conditioning camp two months prior.  It will be nice to assess how both of those players continue to develop.

Camp will include a scrimmage, open to the public, at Anaheim Ice on Thursday, June 30 at 9:00am.  The remainder of the camp, which runs through July 5, will be devoted to teaching nutrition, strength and conditioning, daily weight and aerobic training, as well as other concepts needed on and off the ice to reach the next level. 

While the future looks bright, there are two players who are officially hanging up the skates.  Todd Marchant announced his retirement earlier today, and that was followed by Paul Kariya, who began his career as a Duck. 

Marchant played 17 seasons in the NHL and 1195 games.  He amassed 186 goals and 312 assists, just two points shy of 500.  He spent time with the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, but spent the past six years in Anaheim, winning a Stanley Cup with the team in 2007.  His inspirational t-shirts, created while injured, helped remind his teammates what it would take to win the Stanley Cup – Heart, Sacrifice, Passion, and Destiny.

Marchant will remain with the club as a player development coach.

“I’d like to personally thank Todd for his invaluable contributions to this organization over the last six years,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray. “His character and presence in our locker room will be missed, but we’re extremely grateful that he has agreed to join the front office as director of player development. Congratulations to Todd and his family on a wonderful career.”

Not long after Marchant announced his retirement, Paul Kariya announced his.  At age 36, Kariya took all of last year off to recover from post-concussion syndrome.  Despite making progress, doctors all agreed that the risk of further damage from another concussion was too big a risk to even consider playing. 

Kariya was drafted fourth overall as the Mighty Ducks first ever draft pick in 1993.  He spent eight seasons with the team and blossomed when Teemu Selanne joined Anaheim in 1996.  The two were good friends and played for six seasons with amazing chemistry.  

Kariya’s most memorable moment on ice came as a result of an injury during the sixth game of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003.  New Jersey Devils defenseman, Scott Stevens, leveled Kariya mid-ice, clearly handing him one of his many concussions.  Kariya was clearly knocked out on the ice and helped off by trainers to the dressing room.   Kariya returned to the ice, to the amazement of everyone, including Stevens, who looked like he saw a ghost.  Kariya proceeded to get the puck and scored a dramatic goal that helped lead to a game seven in the series, a moment that, having witnessed it in person, still sends chills down my spine just thinking about it.

Kariya retires just 11 games shy of 1000 and 11 points shy of 1000 with 402 goals and 587 assists, literally a point per game player.  The former Ducks captain released this statement through his agent:

“Today, I announce my retirement from professional hockey. 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.”

Two very different but important players to the Ducks retired today.  Tomorrow, new hopefuls will be on the ice, dreaming of long careers that will end nobly.  Who knows what the future will hold?

About Karen Francis

Just a diehard Ducks fan since 1995, when the team filled the hockey shaped vacuum in my heart.