TORONTO — The seating arrangement for the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony had Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne sitting next to each other in the front row and it couldn’t have been more appropriate.
They were together. As they should be. As they were across six wondrous seasons together with the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. As they have been in the weeks and the days leading up to their enshrinement, their official entrance into the gates of hockey immortality.
The two biggest stars of an expansion-era franchise that’s now firmly into its 25th year of operation became the first two Hall of Famers to have spent the majority of their careers with the rechristened Anaheim Ducks.
Also inducted were Dave Andreychuk, a 640-goal scorer and a Stanley Cup champion, and Mark Recchi, a 1,500-plus point producer who won three Cups with three different teams in three decades. Canadian women’s star Danielle Goyette also went in, as did Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and legendary Canadian collegiate coach Clare Drake in the builders’ category.
But the headliners were Kariya and Selanne. The two made the Ducks relevant in their nascent period, providing thrills on a nightly basis while creating a foundation that subsequent teams built on.
The past weekend has been a celebration of the private Kariya being back in the spotlight. And the winger delivered his 6½-minute speech with the kind of style and substance that defined a concussion-abbreviated 15-year NHL career in which he scored more than 400 goals and finished a literal point-per-game player.
Kariya thanked Enil Sacilotto, his coach at age 15 with the Burnaby Winter Club, for showing him what he could be and Garry Davidson, his coach with Penticton of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, for being “an incredible teacher” and helping him develop as a player under his guidance.
For instance, Sacilotto gave each of the players on his Burnaby team a visualization tape.
“For the rest of my…