Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Winnipeg pays tribute to Teemu Selanne

10/06/2013 at 11:33pm EDT

The Winnipeg Jets weren't happy about dropping a 3-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night, but the MTS Centre crowd was thrilled to fete Teemu Selanne one last time...

And the man who still wears the "Joffa bubble helmet" he did when he broke into the league with Winnipeg during the 92-93 season happened to be named the game's second star:

Here are the actual game highlights...

And the Hockey News's Adam Proteau did a fantastic job of explaining WHY Selanne is so important to Winnipeg hockey fans:

Those unfamiliar with 1980s hockey history may be tempted to ask, why the love affair between Selanne and Winnipeg? The 43-year-old Selanne played only 231 regular-season and six playoff games as a Jet (from his rookie NHL season in 1992 to 1996). When he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2017, it likely will be as a Duck.

Technically speaking, players are inducted as players, and there is no team-choosing involved. Selanne can bring as many or as few jerseys to his induction ceremony as he wishes.

But I doubt anybody in Winnipeg would begrudge him if that’s the choice he makes. Mere statistics don’t take into account the manner by which Selanne conducted himself during his stint with the Jets. Although his goals made the highlight reels, it was his aura that resonated with people. Selanne never acted as if his talent made him bigger than the city, never sulked or pouted, never made the locals feel as if they were fortunate to watch him. (Even though they were.) He represented them with pride. That’s all Jets fans have ever wanted.

It's a very Manitoban personality, and when you're playing in a city whose population is so very concentrated within and immediately around the city's limits, you have no choice but to interact with your fans at the grocery store, at restaurants, when you're getting gas or going out with your family. As such, the "good eggs" find fame and those who display prickly personalities when confronted with the glare of big-small-town spotlight struggle.

Those who know him best describe Selanne as a big kid. But he’s the best kind of big kid: not a babbling, baby-talking Adam Sandler type, but a respectful, thankful and joyful kind. And while it was clear he derived great pleasure from hockey, he carried that attitude off the ice and strived to share the wonder and blessings of his life with others.

It was always a joy to watch Teemu Selanne play. But it’s been more of a joy to realize that an amazing person and hockey ambassador was under that famous No. 8 jersey the entire time. That person is who is being saluted Sunday night in Manitoba.

The player was incredible. The man was better.

It appears that we're going to hear a wee bit more about this in the morning:

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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