Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Finnish flashback

As a spectacular career winds down, Teemu Selanne fondly recalls his time in Winnipeg

  • Print

ANAHEIM -- Give the nod to California where the weather and lifestyle are concerned, but Teemu Selanne says Winnipeg is tops for street hockey.

"They would just come up to the door and knock. I didn't have any kids so I would say 'sure.' It was fun. I liked playing street hockey," recalled Selanne, who had Winnipeg kids banging on his door back when he lived on Campbell Street in River Heights. "Here in California they can't even get close to the door. Gated communities and two Rottweilers. Winnipeg is such a safe place. You never worried about anything."

Selanne joined the NHL as a rookie with the Jets for the 1992-93 season and gave a memorable jolt to a fading franchise, scoring 76 goals and turning the attention of the hockey world on Winnipeg.

A few seasons later, the Jets were gone and Teemu-mania was viewed as the last of the good days of the Prairie version of Hockey Camelot. The Jets left Winnipeg for Phoenix in 1996 and NHL hockey stayed away for 15 years.

But Selanne and many of the old Jets were still front and centre in the memories of many Winnipeg hockey fans.

Selanne returned to Winnipeg with the Jets during the new franchise's inaugural season and it was one of the more memorable games of that season including an in-game standing ovation as well as a tearful curtain call following the game.

Selanne said he expected to have some similar emotions on Monday.

"I'm trying to take this just as a normal game but obviously I know it's my last game against Winnipeg," said Selanne, who had 684 goals and 1,455 points in 1,445 career NHL games prior to Monday's match with the Jets. "It's always special to play Winnipeg and I'll try to enjoy it. But it's one game and the mode now is to peak heading into the playoffs."

At the age of 43, Selanne's production has finally slipped and he has just nine goals in 58 games. But, as he showed at the Olympics where he was named tournament MVP, he can still find his game for flashes.

"I have more energy than last year at this time. Last year was the hardest of my career with the lockout. But I feel good," said Selanne. "But it's time. You can't play forever. I still love playing the game and coming to the rink. But it's time."

One Winnipegger on Selanne's mind Monday was the late Don Baizley.

"Absolutely. Absolutely, he would have been here. Don was like a second dad for me. Coming to Winnipeg, Don was always there and always supporting me," said Selanne, who hired Baizley as his agent prior to leaving Finland for the NHL. "Whatever I needed, he was there. He would be here if he could and he would be enjoying this moment with me and my family. It's a tough loss."

Selanne admitted the thought of playing the Jets for a final time and going to all of his favourite rinks in the NHL for what could be last visit has amped up his personal nostalgia meter.

"I've been thinking about this game, and that it would be my last against Winnipeg, for a few days. I'll let my mind wander a little bit... there are so many great memories," he said. "When you know it's the last time and you're getting near the end you see everything a little different. You try to take everything in and enjoy."

A good number of Jets fans have been following their team through this California swing. Selanne was asked if he would look for them in the stands.

"Especially if they're wearing the old jerseys. Have they played any games wearing them as third jerseys? They should. They're still one of my favourite jerseys in the NHL," he said.

Just like he's still one of Winnipeg's NHL favourites.

Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 1, 2014 D1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Top 5: Famous facts about the Stanley Cup

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.
  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google