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Kariya finally gets closure with Hall of Fame induction

TORONTO – Teemu Selanne calls it “closure.” He looks at good friend Paul Kariya and sees a completely different man in the four months since he was called to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“The way how Paul’s career ended, he didn’t have a chance to say goodbyes,” Selanne said Friday. “He didn’t have a closure for himself and for his teammates and his fans and everything. So I think this is going to be the one, that he’s going to be happy. I think that’s going to bring him back.

“I really believe. It’s amazing how this has changed him.”

Kariya is emerging from the shadows – from a private life of surfing and anonymity in Southern California – to accept hockey’s highest honour. The 43-year-old would quibble with that characterization, but get this: When he stood alongside Selanne and the other inductees holding a hockey stick in a Friday afternoon photo-op, it was the first time he’d touched one since April 10, 2010.

His final NHL game.

“He probably says that [he hasn’t] disappeared, but nobody has found him,” said Selanne.

That’s what make this particularly Hall of Fame weekend so special.