Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Anaheim Ducks from A to Z

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Anaheim Ducks from A to Z

(Ed. Note: August is known to be a very quiet month in the hockey world. As we wait for September to arrive and training camps to begin, let’s learn a little history about all 30 teams. Behold, our summer A-Z series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to drop some knowledge on us! Add your own choices in the comments!)

 by Liz Brownstein, contributing writer at Anaheim Calling

A. Anaheim Arena

Getty Images
Getty Images

Anaheim Arena was the original name of the Ducks home ice, seen above when it was brand spankin' new in 1993. Arrowhead Water seized the opportunity to buy the naming rights of the new facility and thus the Arrowhead Pond of Anahiem, or simply, The Pond, was born.

In 2006, after the Samuelis assumed control of the team from Disney, the rights were bought by Honda and the arena was renamed, again, this time to Honda Center. Some who yearn for the good old days call the barn 'Ponda Center.'

B. "Be Our Guest"

On October 7, 1993, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim made their NHL debut. The last thing that Disney went for was "discreet" with this nearly 14-minute introduction. And it was soooo Disney, with master of ceremonies Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast.

Please, do take a few things into consideration from this epic ... failure? Train wreck you can't look away from? Disney-fied vomit?

First and foremost, the song 'Be Our Guest' is rewritten (and remixed) with special Mighty Ducks hockey lyrics. Next, "The Decoys." They're the figure skaters who stripped from french maids costumes to quasi-futuristic ice dancer garb, and are joined by heavily padded and helmeted purple men. Then there's the secondary mascot, The Iceman, a creepy pale dude who is used to energize the crowd; yet, he demeans the audience in his attempt to pump them up. He was quickly scrapped, along the magic space box he escaped from. Flying in at the end is Wild Wing wearing a double-sided jersey. More on him later.

C. Coors Light Stadium Series (January 25, 2014)

Getty Images
Getty Images

On a balmy Los Angeles evening in January, two Southern California rivals made history. The Ducks and Kings played the first regular season outdoor NHL hockey game where no one thought it would ever be possible - California.

In the middle of a season called "winter," the two teams faced off inside Dodger Stadium on an ice rink that was flanked by a beach volleyball court and a youngsters' roller hockey game as the sun set gorgeously behind a pod of palm trees.

The night was quite a spectacle with appearances by the great Vin Scully alongside Bob Miller, the man who made California hockey possible, Emilio Estevez Wayne Gretzky, and of course, Kiss.

The game wasn't half bad either.

It was chock full of excitement, including a penalty shot attempt awarded to, and lost by, the Kings plus a heavyweight fight between Tim Jackman and Kyle Clifford. Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller earned a shutout game, stopping all 36 shots faced. Goals by Corey Perry, Matt Beleskey and Andrew Cogliano sealed the history night win. 

D. "DAWN!"

Dawn Wright from Tustin, CA just concluded her fourth season as the full-time national anthem singer for the Anaheim Ducks. Her consistently unforgettable and powerful renditions of the US national anthem has landed her the title of fan-favorite.

We've heard the Winnipeg Jets fans shout "True North!" when the phrase comes up in the Canadian national anthem and Stars fans yell 'STAR' during the Star Spangled banner. In Anaheim, fans have started shouting "Dawn!" when the anthem singer belts the line, "By the dawn's early light."

As small or as simple as this may seem, for a franchise as young as Anaheim (compared to other NHL teams), this small gesture has generated momentum toward being an actual tradition for the fans to continue for as long as Dawn's voice graces Honda Center.

E. European Season Opener

The reigning Stanley Cup champs kicked off the 2007-08 season in Europe. The Ducks faced off with the Kings for two contests in England, each team winning one game. This marked the first time that any NHL teams opened their season in Europe.

In 1997, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim played a two-game series against the Vancouver Canucks in Japan. This duo of games marked the first time in NHL history that games played anywhere other than North American soil counted toward the NHL standings.

Both times that the Ducks played overseas, the decisions were split with each team winning one. Oddly enough, both games played in Japan against the Canucks ended with scores of 3-2, and both games in England against the Kings ended with scores of 4-1.

F. First Stanley Cup in California

GANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 06: Sean O'Donnell #21 of the Anaheim Ducks hoists the Stanley Cup after his team's victory over the Ottawa Senators during Game Five on June 6, 2007 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Senators 6-2 to win the Stanley Cup Finals 4 games to1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
GANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 06: Sean O'Donnell #21 of the Anaheim Ducks hoists the Stanley Cup after his team's victory over the Ottawa Senators during Game Five on June 6, 2007 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Senators 6-2 to win the Stanley Cup Finals 4 games to1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In 2006-07, the Anaheim Ducks ended the regular season ranked second in the Western Conference with 110 points with a record of 48-20-14. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Anaheim defeated the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks, each series requiring just five games to decide the winner.

The Western Conference Final featured a showdown between the Ducks and long-time playoff rival, the Detroit Red Wings. Game 5 of this series is one that has earned a place in Anaheim's record books, highlighted by two goals that became two of the most important goals in franchise history. With the series tied at two wins each Anaheim trailed 1-0 in the last minute of regulation, however Anaheim's captain, defenseman Scott Niedermayer scored the game-tying goal with just 48 seconds left in the third period. At 11:57 of the first overtime period, Teemu Selanne would do what he does best and scored the game-winning goal, which he declares was one of the most important of his illustrious career. 

Anaheim defeated the Ottawa Senators in just five games, hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history and making them the first California-based team to succeed in their quest for the ultimate hockey prize. Furthermore, for each player except Conn Smythe winner Scott Niedermayer, this was the first time they won the Stanley Cup.

G. Getzlaf, Ryan

Anaheim's current captain is the hard-hitting, playmaking center Ryan Getzlaf, who has both a lethal shot as well as unbelievably accurate passing abilities. In his 10 seasons with the Ducks Getzlaf's statistics speak volumes, with 710 games played, 208 goals, 470 assists, and 678 total points all ranking in the top five all-time in Anaheim franchise history. In each season in which he's played in at least 60 games, he has contributed at least 50 points, and that's just on the scoreboard.

Getzlaf has proven himself a well-rounded player, excelling on both offensive and defensive aspects of the game as well as one of the best leaders and captains in the NHL. He was nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy, Mark Messier Leadership Award (twice, it's the bald bros), and Ted Lindsay Award. 

H. Hebert, GUUUUUYYYYYYYY

In 1993, the NHL expanded to include both the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Florida Panthers, and in order to fill rosters an expansion draft took place just two days before the entry draft. With their first pick in the expansion draft the Ducks drafted goaltender Guy Hebert off the St. Louis Blues.

Hebert still ranks in the top three franchise goaltenders in terms of games played (441), wins (173) and shutouts (27). Hebert played eight of his ten career seasons in Anaheim and was one of the first faces of the franchise, playing with the team longer than most of the other players from the original 1993 roster.

Guy remains affiliated with the Ducks organization as a television analyst. 

I. Ironman

In each sport, the player with the longest streak of consecutive games played is given the title of "Ironman." Anaheim's 28-year-old left wing Andrew Cogliano has the NHL's active ironman streak with 622 consecutive games played dating back to his rookie season with Edmonton in 2007-08.

However, there's a fun loophole: Joe Sacco holds the title of most games played in a single regular season for Anaheim with 84 games played in 1993-94. Cogliano will not be able to touch that record since the season was shortened to just 82 games prior to the 1995-96 season.

J. Jean-Sebastien Giguere

When a team is defeated in the Stanley Cup Final yet a player off that losing team is given the Conn Smythe, it is absolutely noteworthy considering it has only happened five times in NHL history. Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is one of those five rare players who earned this honor despite not being on the Cup-winning team.

"Giggy" currently holds Anaheim's club records for regular seasons games played (447), wins (206), shutouts (32), as well as the same three categories during the playoffs (50 playoff games played, 33 wins, and 6 shutouts). As one of the most decorated goaltenders in Anaheim's history, his nine seasons with the team were highlighted by the 2002-03 Conn Smyth Trophy, and helping lead the team to become Stanley Cup Champions in the 2006-07 season. Giguere will always be honored for his accomplishments as a Duck, and was a consistent part of the team's backbone. 

Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images/NHLI
Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images/NHLI

K. Kariya, Paul

In the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim used their first ever draft pick on Paul Kariya, taking him fourth overall in the first round. Kariya would spend the first nine seasons of his 15 season career with the Ducks, and still ranks impressively in franchise records for points, goals and assists, as well as game-winning, power play, and shorthanded goals.

Kariya was the captain of the team for seven of his nine seasons in Anaheim and lead the team to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history in 2003, where the New Jersey Devils would triumph in a heartbreaking seventh game. He quickly became the face of the franchise, alongside goalie Guy Hebert, and received recognition in terms of nominations for the Calder Memorial Trophy (1995) and the Hart Memorial Trophy (1997).

His departure from the Ducks remains a sore spot for some, but they're starting to slowly come around. He was noticeably missing from Teemu Selanne's banner raising despite the two of them being the best of friends.

L. Loney, Troy

Well, in short, left wing Troy Loney was the first captain of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim back in the 1993-94 season. During that one season he appeared in 62 games played and tallied 19 total points (13+6=19) as a Duck. However, that was the one and only season he spent with the Mighty Ducks.

Honorable Mention: Leclerc, Matt

I simply couldn't let this one slide because I am ready to admit that Mike Leclerc was my childhood crush. Who could really resist those frosted tips and crooked smile? He assisted on two of Petr Sykora's overtime playoff goals and contributed a career-best 44 points (20+24=44) in the 2001-02 season with the Mighty Ducks.

M. Murray, Bob

Anaheim's general manager dating back to November 2008, Bob Murray has dazzled with his ability to trade away players who weren't living up to expectations and taking up cap space. His magical touch with trades earned him the title of General Manager of the year for the 2013-14 season.

Despite a few rather controversial contract signings, including a long and pricey extension for Ryan Kesler, Murray has proven that he isn't too proud to go back and trade away a player that doesn't work out in the long run. All in all I've learned to trust Murray, especially after many trades that involved and upgrade in talent along with a younger player and a smaller salary cap hit.

N. Niedermayer Brothers

I can't imagine there are many things sweeter than winning the Stanley Cup with your brother. That's something the Niedermayer boys will always have.

And really, without Rob Niedermayer there would be no Stanley Cup. Hear me out...

In 2003, Anaheim made a deal at the trade deadline that brought Rob Niedermayer to southern California, however that year the Ducks would lose in that brutal game seven to New Jersey. So not only do the brothers know what it's like to win together, Rob knows what it's like to lose that one deciding game, and lose it to his brother in a Devils' jersey.

During the summer of 2005, after the season-long NHL lockout, Rob's older brother Scott was an unrestricted free agent who opted for a shorter, cheaper contract with the Anaheim Ducks so he could play alongside his brother.

Both brothers were paramount pieces of the Stanley Cup winning team, with Scott focusing on being a captain and an offensively-producing blue liner, while Rob took the opposite approach, being one-third of Anaheim's best shutdown line. Having Scott helped cement the Chris Pronger trade to put the Ducks over the top.

Scott Niedermayer still holds the franchise record for career points by a defender (264), and after the 2009-10 season he chose to retire as a Duck. He was part of the class of 2013 inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and now works for the Ducks organization as an assistant coach.

No Rob = No Scott = No Pronger = No Cup

O. "Off the floor, on the board!"

One of the most iconic moments and incredible calls in franchise history. In the 2003 Stanley Cup Final the Ducks are down three games to two, heading into game six at home against the New Jersey Devils. Anaheim was up 3-1 in the middle of the second period, when Paul Kariya gets blindsided and absolutely demolished by a train.

Oh wait, no, that was Devils' Captain, Scott Stevens.

To this day my heart stops, only restarting once I see Anaheim's captain take in that gulp of air and come to, only to be tended to and helped off the ice by trainers and teammates. The announcers point out the important pieces of the hit, the absence of the puck, the elbow to head contact from the blind side, and in case you didn't feel sick enough the first three times, they provide a few more angles for your viewing displeasure.

But then the unthinkable happened. Kariya returned. Before the second period concludes, the captain is back on the bench and fighting through any haze every time his skates hit the ice, playing the animal we all knew him to be.

Then karma comes back to bite Scott Stevens in the butt, and Kariya rockets his trademark bullet of a shot right into the top corner, and as announcer Gary Thorne exclaimed it best, he got "off the floor, on the board!"

P. Pronger, Chris

After losing a five-game series to the eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers in the 2006 Western Conference Final the team knew they were close, but needed to add at least one player who could help push the team to their first Stanley Cup. Chris Pronger was that player.

At 6'6, 220 pounds, he was one of the largest-stature players on that 2006-07 championship roster. That big-bodied shutdown defender was exactly what Anaheim really needed to strengthen their blue line. I genuinely believe that Pronger was the biggest difference-maker that pushed Anaheim all the way to hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Q. Quintuple Overtime

The longest game in franchise history lasted longer than two games combined. It went into a fifth overtime period. Five overtime periods. Please remember that is a total of eight periods of play, when a normal game ends in three. The goalies clocked a ridiculous 140:48 in time on ice.

The game-winning goal came from Petr Sykora with assists going to Adam Oates and Mike Leclerc less than one minute into the fifth overtime period. Anaheim would end up winning the series four games to two on their road to the Stanley Cup Final.

R. Rucchin, Steve

Everyone remembers the dynamic duo that was Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya, but unless the two wings had a reliable center between them they might not have been nearly as magical. Steve Rucchin was the longtime centerman between the two powerhouse wings, and he lived up to expectations. In his 12-season career he played ten of them for the Mighty Ducks, tallying 616 career games played for Anaheim with 153 goals and 279 assists, totaling 432 career points.

Rucchin still holds the franchise record for the most career shorthanded assists (9), as well as several records surrounding faceoffs including most faceoffs won in a single game (26), in a season (1066), as well as the most puck drops taken in a game (42), and in a season (1996). When you control the puck off the draw, plays often swing in your favor, as they often did for the top trio of the Mighty Ducks.

Just as icing on the beautiful cake that is Rucchin, I have to touch on probably the most exciting goal that I remember him scoring as a Duck. 2003 playoffs, round one, game four, the Ducks had dominated the series taking an impressive 3-0 lead over the Detroit Red Wings. With the chance to sweep, the game ended up in overtime where Rucchin stepped up in a big way. That marked the first time that the Mighty Ducks defeated Detroit in the post-season since the team's inauguration.

S. Salei, Ruslan

I'll never forget when my dad used Ruslan Salei as the personification of hard work. I was slacking off and he asked me "Now what do you think Salei would do? Channel your inner 'Rusty' would you!" That motivated me in a way that only hockey could.

Of his 14-season NHL career Salei spent nine of them in Anaheim, and I can say I am thankful for every game I ever saw him play in. Over those nine seasons Rusty tallied 594 career regular season games, during which he averaged just under 22 minutes of ice time each game. He additionally contributed 105 total points (26+79=105), and 735 penalty minutes including scoring the overtime game-winning goal in Game 3 against the New Jersey Devils in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final.

Unfortunately, in 2011, Ruslan Salei was killed in the tragic plane crash that took the lives of every player on the KHL's Yaroslavl Lokomotiv's roster. In tribute to his memory his son Aleksandro was invited onto the ice at a Ducks home game, where this heartbreaking picture was taken. May Rusty rest in peace.

T. #TeemuForever

Come on, who else could it really be? After his record-setting 76 goal rookie campaign with the Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim would eventually make one of the most important trades in franchise history by bringing Teemu Selanne to Anaheim.

Selanne holds too many franchise records for the Ducks to list them all here, however some highlights include most career goals (457), most goals in a single season (52), most career assists (531), most career points (988), most points in a single season (109), most career powerplay points (410), and most career games played (966). Yes, that's correct, he averaged more than one point per game with the Ducks in his career.

The Finnish Flash scored some of the most integral and opportune goals including his overtime game-winning goal that lifted the Ducks to a 3-2 series lead over the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Final in 2007 on the way to the Stanley Cup championship.

I'll never forget when I heard someone explain that at times that other players don't see a chance at scoring a goal, Selanne not only sees the perfect shot, but he has the skill, strength and accuracy to execute it.

Former Anaheim Ducks player Teemu Selanne watches as the team retires his number with a banner, as it is raised before an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Former Anaheim Ducks player Teemu Selanne watches as the team retires his number with a banner, as it is raised before an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

With everything that Selanne achieved in his 15 seasons with Anaheim, it should not be a surprise at all that #8 was the first jersey number that the franchise chose to immortalize by retiring it to the rafters above Honda Center ice.

U. [Why] U heff to be mad?

People forget Ilya Bryzgalov was a member of the Anaheim Ducks when he gave the now famous quote, "Why you heff to be mad?" He was responding to questions about teammate Chris Pronger's return to Edmonton for the first time since the trade.

V. Vitaly Vishnevsky

One of my favorite Ducks. Ever. Vitaly Vishnevski. 6'2, 215-pound defenseman whose best season with the Ducks in terms of points was all of 16 (6+10-16). But to say he contributed off the scoreboard is a pretty colossal understatement.

I'll never forget the moment I realized that Vishnevski had an electricity, a genuinely powerful energy every single time he hit the ice. Along with that excitement was an inexplicable magnetism that just pulled other players to him. Players would try to take him out of the play, but his physicality was too much to conquer. Just take a look at what happened when Ales Hemsky tried to get by Vish.

When not on the ice, he'd double as Paul Kariya and Adam Oates's bodyguard, as seen in this classic Mighty Ducks commercial.

W. Wild Wing

One of the only pieces that dates back to the days when the Walt Disney Company owned the team is the mascot, Wild Wing. The humanized duck mascot would also double as a cartoon character in Disney's animated TV series, Mighty Ducks.

Wild Wing also holds the distinction as the first mascot in the NHL to descend to the ice surface from the arena's rafters. Oh did I mention he was lit on fire during the Mighty Ducks inaugural season?

Following the sale of the team to Henry and Susan Samueli, the new owners polled season ticket holders as to changes they could make to help define the new regime and separate the Disney-fied past. It resulted in a change of changing the name, colors, logo and jerseys. However, at the request of petitioning fans, Wild Wing stuck around as an homage to the roots.

X. 10

Anaheim's elite right wing, #10, Corey Perry is known as the other half of "The Twins" with captain Ryan Getzlaf. 

In his 10 seasons with Anaheim, Perry played in 722 games, scoring 602 points (296 goals, 306 assists), with 53 game-winning goals. Perry holds the franchise record for the longest point streak at 19 consecutive games.

He was dubbed Scorey Perry and MVPerry in the 2010-11 season. That year captured the prize as the Ducks first ever Hart Trophy winner and the second Anaheim player to earn the Rocket Richard.

He's also beloved by Ducks fans for being an absolute prick on the ice. He has no problem playing at that very thin line between legal and evil. Pretty much all hockey fans outside of Anaheim, completely despise him... but let's be real, they also wouldn't object to having him on their team.

Honorable Mention - Oleg Tverdovsky

The main reason Tverdovsky deserves a mention is because he was drafted second overall in 1994, and was an integral piece of the package sent to Winnipeg in order to trade for Teemu Selanne. Some three years later, Tverdovsky would find himself traded back to Anaheim, playing another three seasons in Southern California.

Y. Yake, Terry

Getty Images
Getty Images

Even in just one season with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Yake holds enough "firsts" to merit some recognition. Yake scored the first hat trick by any Mighty Duck player. He scored three goals in the first road game of their inaugural season against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. Yake ended up leading the entire team in points in their first season with 52 points (21+31=52), however was swiftly traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1994.

Z. ZERO.

That would be the number of Stanley Cups the San Jose Sharks have. For years the Sharks have been the heavily favored team in the Battle of California. Albeit they were humbled by the Kings in 2014, their fans remain steadfast in their jealous hatred of the both the Kings and Ducks. It's quite funny, and kind of a sad. I'm sure the Kings A to Z will recount the "It was 3-0" mishap.

Here's the Ducks version, as they upset the No. 1 seeded Sharks in Round 1 of the 2009 payoffs in a raucous Game 6.

Meet the author: Liz Brownstein is a contributing writer for Anaheim Calling on SBNation. A die-hard Anaheim Ducks fan since their inaugural season back in 1993, this girl prefers a solid fight on the ice to Southern California's glamorous beaches any day of the week. Follow her on Twitter at @lizbrownstein.