At number eight in our 12 days of Jetsmas series, we have a player that’s near and dear pretty much all Jets fans. He retired as number eight (which is why he shows up here on our list) but for Winnipeg Jets fans we will always have number 13 in our hearts.
This is Teemu Selanne.
Where do you even start with this iconic Jet? His impressive career started in Finland with Jokerit and earned him a ticket to the NHL via the Winnipeg Jet’s 10th overall selection in 1988. He would go on to score 76 goals in his rookie year smashing records set by Mike Bossy, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Jets alumni Dale Hawerchuk. Along the way he’s also earned himself a Calder trophy, a Rocket Richard trophy, and eventually the Stanley Cup in 2007.
The bulk of Selanne’s career was spent in Anaheim where they seem to appreciate him as much as Winnipeg does, he helped bring them a Stanley cup afterall! Selanne’s numbers were retired to the rafters at Honda Center in 2015. He also spent a season with San Jose where he was their top goal scorer in 2001-2002, as well as a season in Colorado that Avalanche fans would prefer to forget.
Teemu has a truly unique relationship with Winnipeg despite only playing four seasons here. His signature celly and humble personality made him one of Winnipeg’s most loved players and that love affair persists nearly 30 years later. “It’s always a special time for me to come here and see how much the fans appreciate the hockey players and myself. What a great relationship we have had for so many years.” He told Scott Oake during the Jets playoff run last year. To this day the mere sight of Selanne in Bell MTS Centre will send fans into a frenzy of cheers and standing ovations.
Since retiring, the six-time Olympian has definitely not slowed down. He has seemingly done it all including reality TV in Finland, opening a restaurant called Selanne’s Steak Tavern and believe it or not, flew an airplane to Winnipeg to reinforce the whiteout last year.
In 2016, Mayor Brian Bowman presented him with a key to the city, “Teemu is truly an ambassador for the game of hockey and a hero to Winnipeg Jets fans.” It’s hard to imagine Winnipeg loving another Jet more than Teemu but if it does happen, surely Winnipeggers will never forget their first love.