The NHL’s “Toxic Waste Symbol” is one of the more powerful moments in the history of the sport.
As the NHL announced Tuesday that it would honor the late Paul Kariya with the first-ever Stanley Cup championship trophy, the “T” symbol is also symbolic of the league’s dedication to protecting the environment and to the health of its fans.
For Kariyas family, the tribute was a personal honor.
“I was just so happy,” Kariys father, Ron Kariyan, told NBC Sports on Tuesday.
“I was so happy to see the family get together and say thank you to Paul Kameya.
To be able to get the first Stanley Cup and to have him get a trophy that will go to his dad was just incredible.
It was just unbelievable.
I think I’m going to be able be happy for the rest of my life.”
The NHL also announced a partnership with the Kariytas for a “Save the Kameys” campaign to save the iconic Kariyea home, which sits on an island in the Spokane River in the city of Spokane.
The Kariyah family has spent years restoring the home, and the league is asking fans to help.
“We want to honor Paul Kamiyas legacy, and to help save the Kames home, by making sure that our game is played at home, that we all have the same level of respect for one another, that the environment is a priority, that all fans are treated with the same respect,” NHL President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Burke said in a statement.
The Kariyuas’ home was built in 1965.
The family built it on land owned by the Spokane City Council.
“This is an amazing tribute to Paul,” Ron Kamiyan said.
“The NHL is proud to support this effort and to continue to support the Kamiys’ efforts to save this beautiful home.”
The Kamiya family has raised more than $30,000 to restore the home.
“Paul was a visionary, but he was also a true American patriot,” Ron said.
The NHL is also partnering with local businesses to create a “St. Paul’s Square Garden,” which will host food trucks and events for fans of the Karelian family.