Teemu Selanne didn’t need much time to prove what a class player he was to the hockey world. He was the 10th overall pick in the NHL, and it was a bargain for the Winnipeg Jets. In his first NHL season, the Finn scored 76 goals and 132 points in 84 games.
No one in league history has scored more. Nobody has even come close to that. And for Selanne, it was just the beginning of a fantastic career.
When Selanne retired, he did it as an all-time great and, without a doubt, one of the biggest European players of all time. When The Athletic ranked the 100 best players in modern NHL history, Selanne was 23rd.
Selanne won the Stanley Cup and scored 684 goals and 1 457 points in 1 451 games. He was fast, with magnificent hands and a great hockey IQ on the ice, and he played without fear. Selanne always went the extra mile and constantly attacked at full speed.
But it wasn’t just on the ice that Selanne was a fearless player. He was a great teammate, and it didn’t matter who you were. Selanne was always himself, and it led to some truly amazing moments.
Teemu Selanne actually played with Tie Domi, one of the NHL’s best enforcers, at the beginning of his NHL career. When the Jets, where Selanne and Domi played at the time, visited Helsinki in the 1994 preseason, Domi fought Neil Wilkinson.
Yes, his teammate Neil Wilkinson. It was during the scrimmage, and during the fight Domi broke his teammate’s cheekbone.
Teemu Selanne had only played in the NHL for one year, but he wasn’t scared. The morning after, everyone was getting ready for practice, but Teemu Selanne wasn’t to be seen.
His coach, Alpo Suhonen, wondered where Teemu was when he suddenly showed up in the dressing room.
”He was wearing a bucket–a real bucket–on his head. He had written DOMI on it,” Suhonen said in Teemu Selanne’s autobiography.
”Tie does have a big head and no neck. He got really mad and chased me around the rink,” said Selanne.
Nobody interfered, and after a while of Domi chasing Teemu, nobody could stop laughing.
”That said everything about Teemu’s confidence,” Suhonen said.