Teemu Ilmari Selänne nicknamed “The Finnish Flash” (born July 3, 1970 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish professional ice hockey right winger currently playing for the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League (NHL). Selänne was originally drafted into the NHL by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1st round, 10th overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He is the all-time points leader in men’s Olympic ice hockey with 38 points in 31 games.
Selänne (who has a twin brother, Paavo) played his early seasons with Jokerit of the Finnish SM-liiga. Selänne won the A-Junior level Finnish Championship in 1988 with Jokerit. The team consisted of future SM-liiga players such as Markus Ketterer, Keijo Säilynoja and Mika Strömberg. After two seasons on the junior team of Jokerit, Selänne played his first season for Jokerit during the 1988–89 season when Jokerit played in the Finnish 1. Divisioona. Jokerit gained promotion back to the SM-liiga in 1989 and Selänne had 11 games with 12 points during his debut SM-liiga season. Selänne had his first full season for Jokerit the following year, when he racked up 58 points in 44 games. During the 1991–92 SM-liiga season, Jokerit won the SM-liiga championship and Selänne won the Aarne Honkavaara trophy (top goalscorer) and had the most points scored in the SM-liiga playoffs during that season.
Winnipeg Jets (1992–94)
Teemu Selänne was selected by the Winnipeg Jets 10th overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft (the last player selected in the first round by Jets general manager John Ferguson, Sr., who was fired four months later) and was contracted by the Jets for the 1992–93 NHL season. Selänne initially asked to wear number 8, however, it was already taken by Randy Carlyle who would eventually become his coach in the Ducks, thus he had to wear number 13. His first NHL goal came against Jeff Hackett of the San Jose Sharks on October 8, 1992. He scored 76 goals in his rookie season, an all-time rookie record. He is also the holder of the rookie point scoring record with 132 points, and he along with Alexander Mogilny are the most recent players in NHL history to score 70 goals in a season.
Following his rookie season, Jets players Keith Tkachuk and Alexei Zhamnov formed a line known as “The Olympic Line,” as all three were Olympians. This was notable in that it was prior to the NHL signing an agreement with the IIHF, providing for a break to allow select players to compete for their respective countries in the quadrennial Olympic Tournament. Selänne suffered a torn Achilles tendon in his second season, limiting him to 51 games. The Jets had suffered a six-game quarterfinal loss to the Vancouver Canucks in 1993; and with Selänne injured, missed the 1994 playoffs.
Selänne scored 7 goals and assisted 12 others in 20 games for Jokerit. Selänne was part of Jokerit when the team won the 1995 European Cup.
Winnipeg Jets (1995–96)
On February 7, 1996, he was traded, along with Marc Chouinard and a fourth-round draft pick, to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in return for Chad Kilger, Oleg Tverdovsky, and a third-round pick. The trade was one in a series of moves made by the Jets as a result of the team’s financial difficulties. Selänne however was first angered at the Jets management for trading him, but it all subsided when he learned of the situation in Anaheim.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1996–01)
In Anaheim, Selänne teamed up with Paul Kariya to form one of the most potent scoring duos in the NHL and also picked a nomination for the Lady Byng Trophy, losing to Joe Sakic. In 1998 Selänne became the first European player to be named NHL All-Star Game MVP, after scoring a hat trick. Selänne won the NHL goalscoring titles in 1998 and 1999.
San Jose Sharks (2001–03)
Selänne was involved in controversy with the Sharks in 2002–03. On the other side of the United States, New Jersey Devil Scott Gomez was struggling under the management style of Devils coach Pat Burns. Gomez and Selänne were almost swapped in a multi-player trade, but at the 11th hour Selänne vetoed being sent to New Jersey. Selänne suffered a slight drop of performance during his time with the Sharks but he still managed to score 54 and 64 points during his two full season with the Sharks.
Colorado Avalanche (2003–04)
After two full seasons in San Jose, Selänne signed with the Colorado Avalanche as a free agent on July 3, 2003 (his 33rd birthday) where he was again joined by Kariya. After a season (2003–04) in Colorado that saw his production decline, overall, Selänne’s time in Colorado was considered a disappointment since he didn’t manage to gain a steady form with Paul Kariya as was expected.
Selänne underwent knee surgery during the 2004–05 NHL lockout and signed with Jokerit in the Finnish National League. He was unable to play any games, because rehabilitation took longer than expected.
Anaheim Ducks (2005–present)
Selänne rejoined the Mighty Ducks signing a one year contract on August 22, 2005. With his knee rehabilitated, Selänne led the Mighty Ducks in scoring in 2005–06 despite playing without former teammate and scoring counterpart Paul Kariya. Selänne’s statistical tally this season registered 40 goals and 50 assists for 90 points in 80 games.
Selänne recorded his 1,000th NHL point on January 30, 2006, with his second goal against the Los Angeles Kings, becoming the 70th player, as well as the seventh European player, to achieve the milestone.
Selänne was back amongst the NHL’s elite players after the 2005–06 NHL season, when he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which recognizes perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, designating Selänne as the comeback player of the year.
Selänne received a one-year, $3.75-million contract extension for the 2006–2007 season with the newly renamed Anaheim Ducks, after deciding to continue his NHL career. He also changed his jersey number from #13 back to #8 for 2006–2007 season, the number he’d worn during his first stint with the Ducks franchise several years earlier.
Selänne scored his 500th NHL career goal against the Colorado Avalanche after getting by former Avalanche teammate and captain Joe Sakic to find the net against Colorado’s José Théodore. Selänne joined fellow countryman Jari Kurri as the only Finnish-born players to have scored 500 goals in their NHL careers. On November 26, 2006, in a game against the Calgary Flames, Selänne scored his 600th point as a Duck.
Selänne played in his 1,000th NHL game on December 31, 2006, against the Minnesota Wild. On February 7, 2007, in a game against the San Jose Sharks, Selänne scored his 524th career goal to move into a tie with Bryan Trottier for 27th on the NHL’s all-time list. The “Finnish Flash” moved past Trottier with a first period goal against the Coyotes in Phoenix on February 15, 2007, with his father, Ilmari, in attendance (the fathers of 18 Anaheim players and one of the player’s father-in-law were at the game as part of a team-building experience).On January 10, 2007, Selänne heard grave news from a seriously ill friend. “Today he found out that the cancer has spread to his brain,” Selänne said. “I don’t think he has much time to live. So I told him if I scored a hat trick I’d keep the puck. I told him the odds weren’t very good that it would happen. Obviously it was really a sad day today, but what are you going to do? Life is not fair sometimes.” The next day against the Dallas Stars, Selänne went on to score three goals, his 19th hat trick, the previous one coming six years before. Anaheim won the game, 5–1.
Selänne tied the Anaheim franchise record for goals (previously held by Paul Kariya) with his 300th in a Ducks jersey on February 17, 2007, when he flipped a second-period power-play goal past Mathieu Garon in a game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. One night later, Selänne took sole possession of the franchise record, scoring his 301st goal with Anaheim with a power-play goal at Honda Center in Anaheim in the second consecutive game against the Kings.
With two goals against the Vancouver Canucks on March 11, 2007, Selänne became the first player over the age of 35 to record consecutive 40-goal seasons. The two goals, both on the power-play, moved Selänne into a tie with Hall of Famer Frank Mahovlich on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list at 533, the 26th highest total in the league’s history. Finally, they gave him 107 power-play goals in a Ducks uniform, moving him into a tie for the franchise record with Kariya. Selänne removed his former linemate from the record book with a power-play goal in a victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 16, taking over sole possession on the Anaheim franchise record. Selänne’s two-goal effort against Chicago also moved him past Mahovlich, for sole possession of 26th place on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list.
Selänne completed the 2006–2007 NHL regular season with 48 goals (third best in the league) and became the first player in NHL history over the age of 35 to record consecutive seasons with 40-plus goals. He also led the NHL with 25 power-play goals, tying the Anaheim club record that he set in 1998–1999. His 10 game-winning goals tied him for the most in that category this season. He failed, however, to become the oldest player of all time with a 50-goal NHL season (he was 36 that campaign; 35-year-old Johnny Bucyk scored 51 goals for the 1970-71 Boston Bruins).
With an assist on a goal by François Beauchemin in Game 2 of the Ducks opening round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild on April 13, 2007, Selänne picked up his 30th playoff point in an Anaheim jersey – establishing a new franchise record. The Ducks would go on to defeat the Ottawa Senators in 5 games in the Stanley Cup Finals, giving the team and Selänne their first Stanley Cup championship.
Selänne considered retirement after he and the Ducks had won the Stanley cup in 2007. However, he did not announce his retirement, and in December he told a Finnish tabloid Iltalehti that he will announce his decision in January 2008. On January 28, Selänne signed a one-year contract with the Ducks for the remainder of the 2007–08 NHL season. On February 12, he tied Paul Kariya for most points in franchise history after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche. On February 17, he passed Paul Kariya when he scored his 670th point over the Calgary Flames. On February 24, Selänne earned his 20th career hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks, increasing his career goals total to 546, placing him 25th on the all-time list, bypassing his idol Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard. He was named the NHL’s “First Star of the Week” for the week ending February 24. The game also gave him his 600th career assist.
On September 28, 2008, Selänne signed a two-year, $5.25 million contract with the Ducks.
On October 29, 2008, Selänne scored his 21st career hat-trick, the most amongst active players, setting a new franchise-record 12 for career hat-tricks. All of his three goals came on power-play when the Ducks beat the Detroit Red Wings in over-time 5-4. Selänne is now two hat-tricks behind Jari Kurri, who has 23.
On December 19, 2008, Selänne suffered an injury to his left quad muscle from his own skate after taking a hit from Denis Grebeshkov of the Edmonton Oilers. On January 28, 2009, Selänne came back off his injury and played with the Ducks against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Ducks lost that game 3-2 but since then Selänne has gotten 27 points including 13 goals and 14 assists.
On April 16, 2009, the Ducks made it to the playoffs as the 8th seed. The Ducks defeated the Sharks in 6 games where Selänne contributed 1 goal and 1 assist. Then the Ducks faced the Red Wing where the Ducks were eliminated in 7 games where Selänne contributed 3 goals and 1 assist.
On June 27, 2009, Selänne announced that he would return with the Ducks for the 2009-10 season, after which Teemu says he will retire, stating a man at his age does not belong in a league like the NHL.
On October 8, 2009, Selänne scored twice against the Boston Bruins. Just two days later, on October 10, Selänne scored two goals and added a shootout winner against the Philadelphia Flyers, leading his team to its second victory in the fourth game of the season.
On March 21, 2010, Selanne scored his 600th career NHL goal against the Colorado Avalanche on goalie Craig Anderson putting him 1 goal behind Jari Kurri‘s Finnish record of 601. He is the 18th NHL player in history to do so. He joined Luc Robitaille and Mario Lemieux as the only Calder Trophy winners to score 600 goals.
Together with Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen, Selänne has formed the backbone of Team Finland during his reign. He has appeared in over 120 international games: five Olympics, five Ice Hockey World Championships, the 1991 Canada Cup, and the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Selänne played for Finland at the 1991 World Championship, hosted in his native Finland, and was one of the top scorers in the tournament with 11 points, behind only Mats Sundin and Jari Kurri. He also played in the 1991 Canada Cup, where Finland qualified for the semi-finals for the first time. At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, Finland ended up in a disappointing seventh place after losing 6–1 to the Unified Team in the quarter-finals. Selänne was top scorer for his team with 11 points. After a long season he chose not to participate in the 1992 World Championship, but Finland still managed to capture its first ever medal at the World Championship level.
Selänne did not take part in the 1995 World Championship, where Finland took its first and so far only gold medal, beating Sweden 4–1 in Stockholm’s Globen arena. In 1996, Selänne played his second World Championship, and also in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey (successor to the Canada Cup), his team finishing fifth in both.
Selänne was teamed up with Saku Koivu at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, where they tied as the tournament’s top scorers. Finland beat Canada 3–2 in the bronze medal game. However, Selänne was injured in the previous (semifinal) game against Russia, and did not play in the bronze medal game. At the 1999 World Championship, he was again combined with Koivu. Finland was beaten by the Czech Republic in the final games. With 11 points, he finished second in scoring, 5 points behind Koivu. Both were elected to the tournament’s All-Star lineup, and Selänne also received the tournament’s MVP award.
Selänne’s next duty came at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Due to absence of Koivu, who was battling cancer at the time, Selänne was named the captain of the Finnish team, but was unable to carry the team to win a medal. The team was crushed by the United States in their first game, but made it to the medal round, where they were knocked out by the eventual gold medalists, Canada. Finland finished in sixth place. The following year, the World Championship was held in Finland. The San Jose Sharks (Selänne’s team at the time) failed to qualify for playoffs, allowing Selänne to play for the national team. This was his second tournament on home soil, with Finland finishing in 5th place. He managed to score 11 points and was the tournament’s leading goal scorer with eight goals.
Selänne’s second World Cup opportunity came in 2004, but a nagging knee injury knee hindered his performance. He tallied only four points in six games. Finland won the silver medal, losing 3–2 to Canada in the final.
At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Selänne was again teamed up with Koivu and Lehtinen. Finland put up a 19–2 goal difference in the group stage. Finland came up short against Sweden in the final game. Selänne was once again the joint top scorer with Koivu and also tied for most goals with fellow Finn Olli Jokinen. Selänne and Koivu were named in the Tournament All-Star lineup and Selänne was elected the best forward of the tournament.
In summer 2007, Selänne announced his retirement from Finnish national team play, stating that there is room for only one “Raipe“. However, Selänne accepted Doug Shedden‘s invitation to join the Finnish national team for the World Championship, coming out from his short-lived international retirement. After the 2008 World Championship, Selänne once again announced his retirement from international competition.
However, at the beginning of the 2008–09 NHL season, Selänne contemplated playing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Coming out of international retirement once again, Selänne joined the Finnish team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. At the tournament, he became the all-time leader for points scored in the Olympics. In Finland’s first game of the tournament, played against Belarus, Selänne had an assist, which tied him in first place with Valeri Kharlamov of Russia, Vlastimil Bubnik of the former Czechoslovakia, and Harry Watson of Canada, all of whom have 36 points in Olympic competition. In Finland’s second game, against Germany, Selänne had another assist, giving him a total of 37 points throughout his Olympic career.
Selänne married Sirpa Vuorinen on July 19, 1996. They have four children: sons Eemil, Eetu and Leevi, and a daughter Veera Johanna (b. December 5, 2007). They are residents of Coto de Caza, California, a gated community in southern Orange County.
Selänne is known as an avid car collector (he’s one of the few people that own an Enzo Ferrari), golfer and auto racing fan. He has even entered WRC rally events in his home country of Finland. He usually races under the pseudonym “Teukka Salama” which loosely translates as “Tommy Lightning”.
Before arriving in the NHL Selänne taught kindergarten for three years in Finland.
His mother’s name is Liisa.
Selänne spent two years at business school.