One time, Wayne Gretzky revealed that his wife Janet’s favorite all-time hockey player, to everyone’s surprise, wasn’t The Great One.
Wayne Gretzky is a lot of hockey fans’ favorite player and the greatest of all time, with close to 60 records that still stand and probably will for a long, long, long time.
But Janet Gretzky liked watching another player, a rival to Wayne, more. And that’s Teemu Selanne.
The Finn, nicknamed ’the Finnish Flash,’ retired in 2014, 11th all-time in goals with 684 and 15th all-time in points, with 1,457. Selanne broke into the NHL by recording a whopping 132 points in his rookie season in 1992-93. Selanne was a great skater and one of the fastest ever.
He was also a great sniper with a smartness that few could match. He was also tough and almost impossible to take the puck away from.
Selanne wasn’t one to get involved in scrums or fights, but he was still tough. During the ’90s, play was way tougher than it is now, with the referees allowing more than today. It was tough for players like Selanne, but he never complained and kept on going.
It’s wild to imagine the transition hockey has made over the years. Back then, it was all about fighting and getting under your opponents’ skin, and even from Selanne’s days, things have changed a lot. And if you’re looking for examples, here’s the perhaps best one.
A video posted on Reddit shows a shift from 1998 and how the New York Rangers constantly and without interruption absolutely abuse Selanne.
He got hooked by two players and wrestled to the ice, and while on the ice, he got a glove in his face. When Selanne got up, he got hooked again, shoved against the boards, and wrestled to the ice again.
The referee, who stood right by seeing everything, didn’t call it. Selanne went directly in front of the goal, only to be cross-checked in the back. But once again, the referees didn’t call it.
This is what it was like back then, and you have to praise Teemu Selanne for not giving up. He just got right back up and waited for the next hit from an opponent. What a warrior!