“The Finnish Flash”
Teemu Selänne (born July 3, 1970) is a Finnish ice hockey player who played a long and successful career in various NHL teams. Selänne has broken a number of records in both NHL and international hockey. His professional career in ice hockey lasted staggering 25 years. The Finnish Flash – as his nickname goes – won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks. The list of awards and achievements of Selänne is huge.
Selänne started his senior career in Jokerit Helsinki of Finnish I Divisioona (second level in Finland) in 1989-90. By that time, Winnipeg Jets had already drafted Selänne as their first round pick. In 1989, Selänne had a serious leg injury that put him out of the action for appr. 10 months. Selänne won Finnish championship with Jokerit in season 1991-92. After that, he made a contract with Winnipeg Jets.
Selänne’s debut season in Winnipeg was phenomenal, as he scored unbelievable 76 regular season goals and 132 points. This record will most likely be never broken. In early 1994 Selänne got injured again and he was out again for appr. six months. The lockdown period of 1994-95 Selänne played with Jokerit. Selänne made a long expansion for his Jets contract in 1995, but surprisingly he was traded to Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in early 1996.
Playing with Kariya
In Anaheim, Selänne teamed up with Paul Kariya and this duo raised Mighty Ducks to the new level. Otherwise Disney-owned team was mediocre but the chemistry between two players was something extraordinary. Both players were super-fast skaters and versatile – and they played beautiful hockey together. Both Selänne and Kariya have said that their idea of hockey is similar, no matter that their personalities were completely different. Sadly, Kariya missed season 1997-98 almost completely due to injury.
During Anaheim years, the team made it twice to the play-offs. In the middle of season 2000-01, Selänne was traded to San Jose Sharks, where he played two full seasons of hockey. For season 2003-04 Selänne moved to Colorado Avalanche as a free agent. He teamed up again with Paul Kariya, but the season was below expectations. Selänne had problems with his knee and he got it operated during the lockout season of 2004-05.
Selänne made a contract with Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in for 2005-06 season. From next year, under the new owners, the name was changed to Anaheim Ducks. Selänne played the rest of his career in Anaheim. The 2006-07 season proved to be the one, when everything went right, and the team won the Stanley Cup. In the finals, Ducks defeated Ottawa Senators in five games.
Selänne played his final season of professional hockey in season 2013-14. His last game was the seventh play-off match vs. Los Angeles Kings, which Kings won 2-6. After that match, Selänne got a standing ovation from the fans. The legendary career was over.
Teemu Selänne is one of the few players to play ice hockey in six Olympic Games. Selänne has four Olympic medals, two medals from World Championships and medals from Canada Cup (1991) and World Cup (2004). He has been awarded as MVP in both World Championships (1999) and Olympic Games (2014).
Other noteworthy stuff
Selänne played in ten NHL All-Star Game. He declined the invitation for eleventh one. He was awarded a Calder Memorial Trophy for best rookie in 1993. He is also a winner of Maurice Richard and Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Selänne became the first player of Anaheim Ducks to have a jersey retired.
Selänne is known for his charity activities especially in Finland. He is an avid golfer and is famous of his collection of cars. Selänne has also been a recreational rally driver. So he is one of the fastest guys both on and off the ice – The Finnish Flash.