According to the NHL, Teemu Selanne, who will be inducted in Toronto on Monday along with Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, Danielle Goyette, former teammate Paul Kariya and builders Clare Drake and Jeremy Jacobs, adored five-time Stanley Cup winner and 2001 Hall of Fame inductee Jari Kurri while growing up in Helsinki.
Selanne said, “Jari was my idol. I had his picture and Wayne [Gretzky’s] picture on my wall as a kid. I tried to watch how [Kurri] played and tried to copy his things, learn how he scored goals and played the game.”
Here’s how Teemu Selanne finished up his NHL career:
Selanne finished his career with 684 goals and 1,457 points in in 23 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and Colorado Avalanche. He retired after the 2013-14 season as the all-time Finland-born leading NHL scorer, 83 goals and 59 points more that Kurri.
Selanne won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007
Selanne won 4 Olympic hockey medals with Finland. Silver medal in 2006, Bronze in 1998, 2010, and 2014) and he is the all-time leading scorer in Olympic hockey with 24 goals and 19 assists in 37 Olympic games.
According to former Finland national team coach Alpo Suhonen, who was an assistant with the Jets when Selanne arrived in the NHL, “Kurri was always a star but Teemu was something different, something more, like a star with fans, very social and open and a likeable person. The Peter Pan personalty in hockey.”
“Teemu was not really a typical Finn in that sense. People liked it because he was always happy-go-lucky. And of course he was always a good player, a very special player.”
“People don’t remember that he had come to Winnipeg’s training camp [in 1988], that he was this little Finnish kid sitting on his bed in the hotel and couldn’t speak a word of English and was overwhelmed by the language and all the things that were happening to him,” said Randy Carlyle, Selanne’s teammate with the Jets and later his coach with the Ducks. “In the end, when he was ready for the NHL, he came over at 22 and was more of a seasoned player and dynamic scorer. He had such personality, wholesome and true.”
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Sources: Anaheim Ducks Player News- Ducks Daily and Twitter @AnaheimDucks
Sources are all by The Anaheim Ducks/ anaheimducks.com
Source: Tim Campbell- “Selanne revered for skill, passion, joy he brought to game”
Photos by The Anaheim Ducks