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Ducks Alumni Share Memories and Thoughts
By Michael Walters
It was a breezy Sunday afternoon at Honda Center where hundreds of fans lined up outside hours before the Ducks game. Several fans arrived early, not just to watch the Ducks play, but to also see several Ducks alumni as part one of the Ducks Legacy Nights.
Paul Kariya, Guy Hebert, and Teemu Selanne were present for fans to get autographs and take photos briefly. There was also about a half an hour Q and A session with the players. Jean-Francois Jomphe, Sean Pronger, and Vitaly Vishnevskiy were some of the other alumni in attendance.
Some of the topics were chosen by Kent French and some fans were able to ask questions as well. The beginning of the discussion centered around how there was new team in 1993 and they were called the “Mighty Ducks”. Some players shared their personal experiences about getting a call and being traded to the Ducks. Others talked about how they had never been to California and enjoyed it once they moved. Some players also shared some favorite moments while playing for the Ducks. Guy Hebert brought up how J.F. Jomphe scored two goals in 13 seconds and J. F. joked how his skill got him the first goal, but then it was all luck on the second one.
Kent asked the group what kind of cars they drove back in the 1990s and Kariya mentioned he had bought a Lexus. He then picked out a fan, who had a story about Kariya buying the car. The fan had a friend, who worked at a local Lexus dealer in Orange County back in the 90s and sold Kariya a red Lexus. When the fan found out Kariya was going to buy the car, he gave his friend a Kariya jersey to sign. He was proud to don the signed Kariya jersey and get to tell Kariya himself(and now the crowd) about the story for the first time.
Kent, in keeping with the 90s theme, asked the group who had the best hair on the team back then. Selanne joked about Bobby Dollas and his long locks of hair. Ken Baumgartner was another name that came up, who was with the Ducks briefly in the 1995-95 and 1996-97 seasons. Kariya shared a funny personal story how he used to blow dry his hair in the 1990s in order to try to make it stay in place.
One fan asked Kariya(since he was a former captain) directly who should be the next Ducks captain. Kariya mentioned how he liked watching the play of Troy Terry and Mason McTavish. He felt either one would be a good choice for Anaheim.
Another fan asked Kariya and Selanne about going to Colorado and what the thought process behind it was back then. Selanne joked and said he would answer the question for both of them. He mentioned how both of them wanted to win a cup and thought Colorado had a good chance back then. Selanne did say he wanted to come back to Anaheim sooner and then joked about how Kariya was not happy with the Ducks management at that time.
As the session winded down, the last topic was what the alumni thought about the current Ducks team and their future. The consensus among the group was the Ducks are exciting to watch and there is positivity in the air in Anaheim. Kariya said he thinks we could soon see the Ducks go on a run and play “championship style” hockey for 10 years. Selanne added he felt the team was only a few seasons away from being a real contender.
At the end the players talked about how much they appreciated playing and living in Orange County. They also thanked all the fans for support over the years, including the down seasons when things weren’t going so well. They also thanked the Samuelis, who were both present, for their leadership as owners of the team.
After the event, the Ducks played the Sharks beating them 4-1. Visit below for a game recap.
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November 13th, 2023