WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Paul Kariya announced his retirement from the NHL on Wednesday after being unable to return from post-concussion symptoms that forced him to miss all of last season.
Kariya announced the end of his stellar, 15-season career in a statement released by his agent, Don Baizley.
The former star left wing finished his long NHL stint with the St. Louis Blues. Kariya had missed six games in December and January of the 2009-10 season because of a concussion and announced last August that he would sit out the entire 2010-11 season after being examined by concussion specialist Dr. Mark Lovell.
The 36-year-old Kariya scored 402 goals and helped set up 587 others with Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and St. Louis. He was also a two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner.
“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,” Kariya said. “I would not have achieved it without support from all of these people and organizations.”
Kariya played for the University of Maine for 39 games during the 1992-93 season and 12 more games in 1993-94 after playing on the Canadian National Team. He scored 33 goals and provided 91 assists for the Black Bears. He had 100 points in leading Maine to a 42-1-2 record and its first NCAA championship in 1993.
Kariya won the Hobey Baker Award as the top U.S. college hockey player at Maine in 1993 and was then chosen by Anaheim with the No. 4 pick in that year’s NHL draft. It was with the Mighty Ducks that Kariya became a star, notching three 40-goal seasons — including a high of 50 in the 1995-96 campaign — and two seasons over 100 points.
“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.”
Kariya has a long history of concussion troubles, including one that forced him to miss the 1998 Winter Olympics and much of the 1997-98 season following a cross-check to the jaw by Chicago’s Gary Suter.