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Mighty Migration : Ducks Branching Out During Work Stoppage : Paul Kariya

November 12, 1994|ROBYN NORWOOD

By now, Paul Kariya was supposed to have shown NHL crowds the dazzling playmaking skills many predicted would make him rookie of the year.

Instead, with endless time on his hands, "I've picked up juggling," said Kariya, 20, who returned to his family's home in North Vancouver, Canada, when the lockout began. "I can do the trick where you eat an apple while you're juggling, and I can juggle behind my back."

Kariya, who is fond of philosophy and motivation books, was passing through the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport during the Ducks' exhibition season when he spotted a book on juggling that he'd heard has been used as a motivational tool by some Fortune 500 companies.

"It's a metaphor for learning through the art of juggling," he said. "It teaches juggling, step by step. It's helped me see how I learn in hockey, too. And it's good for hand-eye coordination."

He's been his own tutor during the lockout, skating at a nearby rink and working to develop new skills much as he did during the summer.

"I'm not that bored or mad about the situation," he said. "Everything happens for a reason."

This week, he joined a group of NHL players for a charity exhibition series in Hamilton, Ontario. "It was tremendous," Kariya said after playing the first night. "Everyone was so pumped to play and get back into the hockey atmosphere."

Should the lockout drag into January, Kariya said he probably will enroll in classes at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. One thing's for certain: He doesn't have any financial worries. Even though he's not being paid his $575,000 base salary, Kariya received a $1-million signing bonus in September and is due another $1.25-million installment in July.

"I guess we were really fortunate. It certainly worked out," he said. His three-year, $6.5 million-contract includes almost $5 million in signing bonuses, which must be paid despite the work stoppage.

The challenge is to keep his days full.

"Maybe if I'm still out of work, I can go down to the street corner and juggle," he said.

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