It’s been a few years since Paul Kariya laced up his skates.
Save for a skating excursion with his niece and the odd rollerblading stint, the longtime member of the Anaheim Ducks has made a clean break from hockey since retiring.
Instead, there’s a new sport in his life: Surfing.
(Kind of brings a whole new meaning to that iconic “Off the floor! On the board!” goal call, doesn’t it?)
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, Kariya — who was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame Thursday — said that he surfs “four or five days a week” and enjoys being part of a new “hockey community” of surfers that includes former teammates Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer.
“Now there’s a lot of retired players that live in the area and you get a chance to kind of be in the hockey community, stay in shape and you get that camaraderie that you get playing hockey,” Kariya told the Sun.
Kariya’s cold-turkey absence from hockey isn’t entirely surprising, considering the way he left. He was often sidelined with head injuries and even sat out the 2010-11 season in an attempt to recover before announcing his retirement. He was also known for calling for harsher penalties to offenders, and offered a similar sentiment during his Sun interview.
“We’re still talking about it, so I think there’s still an issue there,” he said. “To me, targeted head shots have no place in the game and the players that take those type of actions have no place in the game.”
Now, his focus is on the waves and living the California dream. Well, sort of.
“My friend says the best surfer in the water is the guy who’s having the most fun,” he said. “So under those conditions, I’m a good surfer. But under normal conditions, not really.”