He’s back. And I couldn’t be happier.
After taking his usual time off after the end of the season to mull it over, Teemu Selanne, Anaheim’s favorite son, has decided to join the Ducks for the 2012-2013 season, signing a one-year contract last week worth 4.5 million.
A total bargain, in my opinion, if you consider what he not only brings to the Ducks, but also to the game of hockey.
He was the Ducks leading scorer last season and played all 82 games. Not bad for the 42-year-old Selanne, who is 12th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 663 goals (1970, represent!). And he doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all, as the Finnish Flash could possibly hit the 700 goal mark this season. Wouldn’t that be fun to watch?
Records and goals aside, for Teemu, it’s always been about the passion and the joy he finds in playing the game of hockey.
“I think this year I kind of knew that I still had a lot of fun,” he said in a conference call last week after the announcement.
To add to the fun of this great news, was the way the announcement was rolled out to the public by the Ducks organization. It was heavily driven by social media, with Selanne’s announcement video first made available to those who have downloaded the Ducks Mobile App. Adam Brady does a great job in his Ducks Blog of breaking down how Teemu’s return looked on social media that day.
If you haven’t seen his announcement video yet, check out this awesomeness.
The video, which Selanne shot back in May, even made ESPN’s Sport Center that night. Shocking, right? That’s how big of a deal The Great 8 is.
I received the happy news on my phone, via notification from the Ducks Mobile App, while sitting on the beach in Newport (How’s that for the life of a SoCal hockey fan?!). And then I joined the fun on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as the news spread like wildfire. #OneMoreYear was the hashtag of the day.
In that same conference call, Selanne also spoke of “unfinished business” and how he was looking forward to playing a full season under Ducks new head coach, Bruce Boudreau. I think Ducks fans would agree. I can’t wait to see what the entire team looks like with a full season led by Boudreau. Maybe they can shake those slow starts…please?
For an off-season that has been sort of brutal for the Ducks and their fans, and even though reports had leaked earlier in the summer of Teemu’s possible return, there’s just something so magical about knowing he’s going to play another season here in Anaheim. It’s like all is right with the hockey world. I’ve said it before, we are truly honored and privileged here in Orange County to continue to be able to watch this class act of a player and person play each year. His smile, enthusiasm and work ethic are unmatched. And the guy can still play.
Selanne’s presence for another season is not only great for Ducks fans, but for all fans of hockey, I believe. If the Ducks are coming to an arena near you this season, I suggest you do what you can to get yourself there and watch this future Hall-of-Famer flash his magic on the ice.
And for all of you local hockey fans, you owe it to yourself to see this Ducks legend play, live and in person. Because you never know which season will be his last.
Go Teemu! Go Ducks!