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Ex-Ducks Teemu Selanne And Paul Kariya To Enter The Hall Of Fame Together

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Kariya (left) and Selanne. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
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If you were a Kings fan during the late '90s, there was nothing you despised more than the partnership between Anaheim Ducks Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. The linemates (who were often anchored by Steve Rucchin down the center) were the consummate blend of speed, skill, and on-ice intelligence. What made it worse was that they were decidedly nice—it was hard to hate them, even if you wanted to (Selanne, as the L.A. Times notes, had worked as a kindergarten teacher for three years in his native Finland before he came to the NHL).

The NHL has announced Monday that both Selanne and Kariya, who'd been teammates from 1995 to 2000, have been voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. They'll head the 2017 class that includes Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, and Danielle Goyette of the Canadian national women's team.

Selanne, who's been elected into the Hall during his first year of eligibility, was a shoo-in. The "Finnish Flash" had won nearly every trophy under the sun, including a Stanley Cup, the Calder Memorial Trophy (as rookie of the year), as well as the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy (for most goals scored in a season). He also holds the record for the most goals by a rookie in the NHL, and the most points in Olympic competition ever. He was also noted for his longevity; he'd played up till the 2013-2014 season, when he was 43.

Kariya was, by far, the bigger question mark for the Hall. While he was the Ducks' first legitimate superstar (the team was founded in '93, and Kariya started playing the next year), and while he had served as team captain for seven years, his career was marred by concussion issues. Selanne would end up playing 1451 games and scoring 684 goals in his career, compared to Kariya's 989 games and 402 goals. And Kariya's trophy haul was far less impressive—he never won a Stanley Cup, even though he'd helped the team reach the finals in 2003 (Selanne left the Ducks in 2001, but he returned to the team after Kariya left, leading to his Cup win with Anaheim in 2007). There was much debate about whether or not Kariya would ever be elected to the Hall—he's been eligible since 2013. “Never in my wildest dreams did I even think this was possible. This is an incredible honor,” said Kariya, according to the Times.

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Despite the disparity between the two, there was no doubt that each player was better when they were on the same line together: as noted at NBC Sports, between the 1995-96 and 2000-01 seasons, Selanne and Kariya would account for a whopping 35% of the team's goals. As such, it's fitting that both players are entering the Hall at the same time. “I had my best years playing with Paul,” Selanne said Monday, according to TSN.ca. “The chemistry was magical.”

The players will be inducted to the Hall on November 13.

Here's a teary-eyed video of Selanne getting the call about the news:

And here's a video of the duo working their magic: