Kariya retires after 15-year career
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP)
Paul Kariya is retiring from the NHL, unable to return from post-concussion symptoms that forced him to miss all of last season.
Kariya made the announcement Wednesday in a statement released by his agent, Don Baizley.
The former star left wing finished his 15-season NHL career with the St. Louis Blues. Kariya 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.
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.
He took last season off to heal and hoped to play again — perhaps in Anaheim. But he decided he did not want to rick further injury and left some pointed words for the NHL and its attitude toward blows to the head in an interview with Globe and Mail newspaper Wednesday.
"The thing that I worry about is that you'll get a guy who is playing with a concussion, and he gets hit, and he dies at center ice," he said. "Can you imagine what would happen to the league if a guy dies at center ice?"
The 36-year-old Kariya scored 402 goals and helped set up 587 others in a stellar career with Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and St. Louis. He was also a two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner.