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Karpa, 44, played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Quebec Nordiques, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers between 1992 and 2003. Drafted 68th overall by the Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Karpa went on to play 557 regular season games in the NHL, scoring 18 goals and adding 80 assists for 98 points while collecting 1,374 penalty minutes.
Most notably in 2007, Karpa scored the game-winning goal for the Ducks in the seventh and deciding contest, eliminating the Phoenix Coyotes and advancing his team to the Western Conference semi-final. Karpa also currently holds an Anaheim Ducks franchise record, most penalty minutes accumulated by a defenseman, totaling 788 in his career. In addition, Karpa was a leader for the Carolina Hurricanes recording the second most blocked shots in the NHL in the 2000-01 season.
Prior to his eleven-year stint in the NHL, Karpa was paired up on the blueline for two seasons alongside Firebirds Head Coach John Gruden. The two were linemates with the Ferris State University NCAA Division I hockey program from 1990-1992.
“It’s a great honor. Coming back and reuniting with my old D-partner from Ferris State, it couldn’t get any better than this,” said Karpa. “I’m very excited for this opportunity.”
In 2010, Karpa was the head coach of the JSerra Catholic High School hockey team that represented the state of California in the USA Hockey National Championship for the first time in school history.
“It’s a huge advantage when you’ve known someone not just from a working aspect but the characteristics they have and what type of person they are away from the job as well. It makes it a lot easier to set a good example for the type of working environment that we want practiced everyday in this organization,” said Gruden. “The people that have been hired here have made it great experience so far and Dave is going to be another addition that comes in and brings exactly what we need to be successful. I’m very fortunate to have him on board.”