Will Kariya Rejoin the Flock?

With good friend and long time teammate Teemu Selanne re-upping with Anaheim for one more season, rumor has it Paul Kariya is seriously considering making his own prodigal return to Anaheim.

Kariya, who first played for the Ducks in 1994-1995, with great sticks in hand he spent his first 9 NHL season in Anaheim, during 7 of which he served as the team’s captain.

In 2004, Kariya promised to bring a Stanley Cup to Anaheim, though he has yet to play a game with Ducks since making the proclamation. At the end of his 9 year tenure in Anaheim, Kariya and former GM Byran Murray allegedly reached a verbal agreement in which Kariya would take a pay cut in order for more high-caliber acquisitions to help the team better chase the Cup.

However, during the ensuing off-season, Kariya chose to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, who also signed Selanne, re-uniting the friends and line mates for the first time since 2000-2001. Ultimately the Avalanche fell short in their Stanley Cup quest. After his one year stint in Colorado, Kariya signed with Nashville where he spent two years with the Predators before leaving town for St. Louis via free agency.

For the past three seasons, Kariya has struggled to live up to his lofty career benchmarks with the Blues, though perhaps were he to re-sign with Anaheim and once again play alongside Selanne, the one-time Duck captain could be rejuvenated towards a late career statistical resurgence.

At 35 years old, it is difficult to tell how much Kariya has left in the tank. Selanne, on one hand, has strung together productive seasons well past Kariya’s current age, having turned 40 this July and already committed to at least one more season with Anaheim. If nothing else, seeing Kariya and Selanne skate together once more under the Ducks banner would be a welcome sight to Anaheim eyes.

Anaheim Selects Hometown Hockey Player

Emerson Etem was born in Long Beach, CA, so when he finally gets around to getting those “professional athlete” business cards printed up, he might want to be extra specific.

It’s not that Long Beach hasn’t produced its share of athletically gifted residents over the past few decades (including tennis legend Billie Jean King, NFL linebacker Willie McGinest and safeties Mark Carrier and Jeff Severson, MLB outfielder Tony Gwynn, Olympic volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, just to name a few), but all those sports stars upbringings were aided by their warm weather surroundings.

Etem, on the other hand, is recent first round selection of the Ducks, Anaheim’s ice hockey team, which may bring joy to thousands of Los Angeles area fans every year, but is rarely composed of any LA-area residents.

Etem actually got his start playing roller hockey, following in the footsteps of his older brother Martin, later transitioning into ice skates. He grew up watching Martin play for the Long Beach Jr. Ice Dogs, though soon it will be Martin’s turn to watch his younger brother take the NHL stage.

The two brothers are not the only athletes in the family as their mother Patricia made the US Olympic rowing team, taking part in the 1984 Olympic Games in LA.Sidney Crosby also had an effect on Etem’s hockey trajectory.

Inspired by a Crosby-led team Shattuck St. Mary’s squad, Emerson chose to take his hockey talents to Minnesota at the age of 14 where he would later help the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabers, a prominent prep team in Faribault, MN, to their second consecutive Tier I 17&Under Title.In Etem, the Ducks get not only a hometown kid but a left-handed scorer from the right wing position.

Playing last season for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL, Emerson lit the lamp 37 times to go with 28 assists, notching a total of 65 points in 72 games. In 12 post season contests, he added additional 7 goals and 3 assists.