Fans welcome Selanne during final regular season visit
Published Sunday, October 6, 2013 12:33PM CST
Last Updated Sunday, October 6, 2013 5:46PM CST
Teemu Selanne may be playing for another city’s team, but that hasn’t stopped some Winnipeggers from giving the former Jet a hero’s welcome. He’s in town with the Anaheim Ducks who play the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on Sunday.
Fans crowded around the downtown hotel where the Ducks are staying to get autographs and photos with Selanne. The Ducks forward is just as flashy as the young Finnish man who made a name for himself in Winnipeg more than 20 years ago.
“This place is so nice, and the fans are unbelievable,” he said. “I'm very happy that I had a chance to come back one more time.”
This is the final regular season visit to Winnipeg for Selanne. The 43-year-old announced this summer he will retire, ending his 22-year NHL career which began with the Jets in 1992.
"I'm 43 and you know it's going to end one day so I just felt now, especially how hard the year was last year, I think now it's easier to make the decision and just put all the focus and energy for this year and that's it."
Just like he entered league, Selanne announced his retirement in style, with a comical video on YouTube.
Not everyone thinks Teemu is done. Friend and fellow-countryman Olli Jokinen suggested Selanne would play another five years.
"Oh no, no, no. Tell Olli, no,” said Selanne.
The young Selanne took the league by storm in 1992-93, scoring 76 goals in his rookie season, an NHL record which still stands today, and a celebration that will always be remembered.
“Obviously that was the night that you're always going to remember but obviously when I threw the glove in the air and I shot it down now when I see it I feel a little embarrassed but I was young and excited at the time," he said.
It's no surprise when he rolls into town, it's all about Teemu. The new Jets completely understand.
"He means a lot to Winnipeg fans,” said goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.“He holds the record that nobody going to break it."
“He's one of those guys that you grew up watching and grew up looking up to it's not often you get to play against those guys you watched as a kid," said forward Bryan Little.
Selanne only spent a short time in Winnipeg but earned a special place in many hearts. "I really appreciate this city and when I came here I was a young boy,” he said. They really took me like their own and they treat me so well. I'm so happy I started here."
- With a report by Josh Crabb