International Ice Hockey Federation

Teemu’s top 10 moments

Teemu’s top 10 moments

Reliving glories of Finland’s top gun

Published 30.12.2015 12:28 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Teemu’s top 10 moments
Teemu Selanne left the international game as player after the 2014 Olympics but he's not gone. He's the 2016 World Juniors' patron where his Finnish jersey will be retired on 30 December. Photo: Jeff Vinnick / HHOF-IIHF Images
Teemu Selanne’s #8 jersey will be retired in a national team ceremony before the Finns play Slovakia on 30 December at Hartwall Arena. It’s easy to see why.

Chosen as the official patron of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 45-year-old Helsinki-born legend is arguably the most popular figure in Finnish sports history. He played the game with speed, skill, and unflagging good humour until his retirement in 2014.

Selanne is the all-time leading scorer among both Finnish NHLers and Olympic hockey players of all nationalities. Reporters consider him one of hockey’s most congenial interview subjects, especially considering his stature in the sport.

He has worn many hats over the years, from Helsinki kindergarten teacher to race car driver to Southern California steakhouse owner. But let’s focus on his feats on the rink in this chronological survey of Teemu’s top 10 moments.

1) To the Top with Jokerit

Selanne finished off his Finnish League career with a bang. In 1992, the 21-year-old Jokerit Helsinki forward led the league with 39 goals in 44 games, and famously scored the spectacular championship-winning goal against JYP Jyvaskala. Afterwards, in a gesture he’d later mimic in the NHL, he threw his glove in the air and pretended to shoot it down, using his stick as a rifle. It was Jokerit’s second league title of all time.

2) Rookie Records Galore

We may never see another NHL rookie season as spectacular as Selanne’s in our lifetime. With a dazzling one-handed goal on a partial breakaway against the Quebec Nordiques, the Winnipeg Jets star beat New York Islanders great Mike Bossy’s mark for rookie goals with his 54th tally on 2nd March 1993.

He’d finish with 76 goals and 132 points (another new rookie record), as he won the Calder Trophy. That season ignited a love affair with fans in the Manitoba capital that persists to this day. (He wore #13 that year, but ultimately considered #8 to be his lucky number.)

3) Finnish Flash + Rocket Richard

In his fourth season with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Selanne captured the inaugural Maurice “Rocket Richard” Trophy with a league-leading 47 goals. It reflected his tremendous partnership with his good friend and linemate Paul Kariya. If the NHL had created the trophy earlier, Selanne would also have shared it with Buffalo’s Alexander Mogilny in 1993 (76 goals) and Washington’s Peter Bondra in 1998 (52 goals).

4) World-Class in Norway

Selanne would suit up at five IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in his career, but 1999 was his most successful tournament all in all – even considering that he had the same number of points in 1991 (11) and more goals at three of his other Worlds. He came away with a silver medal. He posted three goals and eight assists and was named Best Forward as the Finns narrowly lost the two-game final to the Czechs in Lillehammer, Norway.

5) Flying High in Turin

Never have the Finns come closer to winning the Olympics than in 2006 in Turin, Italy. And even though their hearts were broken in the gold medal game as Nicklas Lidstrom notched the third-period winner for Sweden, they couldn’t have gotten there without another great tournament by Selanne.

Productive as ever with long-time national team linemate Saku Koivu, he scored twice in both of Finland’s first two victories over Switzerland and Italy, and got the winning goal against the Czech Republic and Canada. He finished with 11 points and was named Best Forward.

6) Finally, Stanley

During the early 2000s, Selanne struggled with knee problems as he fruitlessly chased the Stanley Cup with San Jose and Colorado. But his dream of hoisting the silver mug was revitalized in his second tour of duty with Anaheim.

Coming off a 94-point season in 2006-07, he went all the way with a talented squad that featured Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf up front, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defence, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net. Selanne’s biggest post-season goal was the 2-1 overtime winner versus Detroit in Game Five of the conference finals. The Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators in five games in the final, and at last, at age 36, Selanne had his Cup.

7) Passing Kharlamov

Whenever you can top a member of the IIHF’s Centennial All-Star Team (as voted by a panel of 56 experts in 2008), you’re doing pretty well.

At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Selanne assisted on Kimmo Timonen’s power play goal in a 5-0 win over Germany to give him 37 career Olympic points. He thus surpassed the all-time record co-held by the legendary Soviet star Valeri Kharlamov (who joined Sergei Makarov as a Centennial All-Star Team winger), as well as Czechoslovakia’s Vlastimil Bubnik and Canada’s Harry Watson. Selanne would wind up with 43 points in total by 2014, his sixth and final Olympics.

8) Passing Kurri

Jari Kurri was Wayne Gretzky’s winger in both Edmonton and Los Angeles, and it seemed improbable that any Finn would ever surpass his career mark of 601 goals. That is, until Teemu Selanne came along. He got his 602nd and 603rd goals on April 2, 2010 in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks.  And he wasn’t done yet.

9) Passing Kurri (Again!)

Selanne became the all-time NHL points leader among Finns when he surpassed Kurri by scoring a power play goal in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on 12 March 2012. That gave him 1,399 career points. Kurri released a statement: “I couldn’t be more proud that Teemu is the all-time top NHL scorer from Finland. Congratulations to a great player, a great friend and an even better person.”

Hockey buffs will always debate whether Kurri’s five Stanley Cup rings and defensive acumen trump Selanne’s offensive superiority, but either way, it was a great moment.

10) Super Swan Song in Sochi

He may have been 43 years old in his sixth and final Olympics (tying him with Raimo Helminen for the most Olympic participations among hockey players), but he sure didn’t play like it. In 2014, Selanne was absolutely heroic.

He notched a goal and an assist in Finland’s 3-1 quarter-final win over host Russia at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. Afterwards, he had kind, classy words about watching the Russian KLM Line when he was growing up: “They were just by far the best line in the world. They were fun to watch, how easy everything was. It’s hard to believe now that we can compete against the best Russian players in the world.”

Selanne also had two goals when the Finns thumped the U.S. 5-0 in the bronze medal game. When he was named the Olympic MVP, you just had to be happy for him.


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