Teemu Selanne felt the love from two National Hockey League franchises, the Jets and the Ducks, as he had his No. 8 jersey retired by Anaheim prior to their home game Sunday against Winnipeg, where Selanne also played.
The 44-year-old, who retired after last May's playoff run ended for the Ducks, was known as the Finnish Flash during his 21-year NHL career that began with a spectacular 76-goal, 132-point season for the Jets in 1992-93 after he came to Canada from the Finnish club Jokerit.
Accompanied by his family and close friends and receiving a warm behind-the-scenes reception inside the arena, Selanne stepped up to watch his No. 8 climb into the rafters as the first jersey so honoured by the Anaheim Ducks.
"Actually the toughest part of keeping the emotions was when I was walking down the stairs," Selanne said, referring to his entrance through a cordon of high-fiving fans. "The whole thing just hit so hard — plus I have to concentrate so I don't fall down those. What a night. It's very special."
In his fourth season with Winnipeg, Selanne was traded to Anaheim, where he enjoyed two more 50-plus goal seasons and scored 457 of his career total of 684 regular-season goals, the most ever by a player from Finland.
Winnipeg's Jets Army arrived en masse to share in the celebration of the career of the speedy forward who also won four Olympic and two world championship medals during his career.