Over half an hour before the ceremony is even scheduled to begin cool things are being shared over social media from Honda Center.
Big night here in Anaheim. Ducks retiring their first number - Teemu Selanne - against none other than the Jets. pic.twitter.com/m8hyDssWMa— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_FOX) January 11, 2015
Something important must be happening tonight. pic.twitter.com/rfY0XgxXDm— Kyle Nicolas (@ACKyleNicolas) January 11, 2015
4:18 PM - NHL Network runs back this Top Ten reel ahead of patching in FOX Sports Prime Ticket's local coverage
Underway. pic.twitter.com/KDhLGu0eXj— Elliott Teaford (@ElliottTeaford) January 12, 2015
Trophies and Cup! pic.twitter.com/5RHwDWjhe3— Earl Sleek (@earlsleek) January 12, 2015
4:25 PM - VIPs making their way to the ice for the ceremony. According to Twitter Gary Bettman, Henry and Susan Samueli, Bob Murray, David McNabb, Scott Niedermayer, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Todd Marchant, Saku Koivu, Chris Pronger, George Parros, Steve Rucchin, Guy Hebert, Jari Kurri, and Selanne's family.
4:30 PM - FOX Sports Prime Ticket's coverage goes live! Video tribute highlighting both his tenures with the Ducks, intercut with well wishes from the fans. Mark Rogondino anchors with John Ahlers at the desk outside Honda Center.
Teemu Selanne, always a bit larger than life pic.twitter.com/fS6W7VE7EW— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) January 12, 2015
4:35 PM - Brian Hayward draws the honor of emceeing the ceremony, saying Selanne is how "we wish all professional athletes would be like." He opens with the origin of Selanne wearing number eight, drawing a big cheer telling the backstory of him selecting #13 in Winnipeg because "crusty old defenseman" Randy Carlyle was wearing #8 at the time.
4:42 PM - After the introduction of the featured guests for the broadcast they throw to a video package, highlighting all his key individual moments- rookie scoring record, game 5 goal against Detroit in 2007, 1000th point, 500th goal, point equalling Kurri on the all time scoring list, 400th goal as a Duck, and more. It suitably ends with Selanne hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2007.
4:46 PM - Selanne makes his first appearance of the ceremony, driving in to Honda Center to strains of Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" after Hayward shares an annecdote about him logging over 100,000 miles driving to Ducks games. He then goes past security and walks down a several corridors of Honda Center lined by media, fans, youth hockey teams and the more. He hugs a lady in a 2014 Finland jersey before it cuts to another video of him getting ready to play as Angels And Airwaves "The Adventure" blares. After the video a spotlight hits Selanne in a suite and walks down the stairs to the ice. The current Ducks all line the carpeted path to the stage, and Selanne shares hugs and handshakes on the way to the stage.
4:55 PM - Hayward runs through all of Selanne's hardware, with the Stanley Cup expectedly getting a massive reaction. Henry and Susan Samueli speak first, calling Selanne the "true face of the franchise." They reference the annual waits post-2007 for Selanne to return, cueing up the familiar crowd refrain of "One more year!" Later on, they reference Selanne's game 5 overtime winner in the 2007 Western Conference Final as the most significant goal in franchise history and perhaps the biggest moment. Mentioning the Ducks as California's first Stanley Cup champion draws a massive roar.
5:00 PM - Henry Samueli continues to speak, highlighting the charity and community work by Selanne. He cites Teemu as having "undoubtedly" the most hospital visits, autographs signed, and classroom visits and more. They close saying Selanne is "permanently ingrained in the soul of the Anaheim Ducks franchise."
5:05 PM - Gary Bettman is up next, drawing boos [EE Note- Enough with this, Bettman is the best commissioner the league has had.]. He laughs it off saying he'd go anywhere to get booed for Selanne, then makes the "I hear the crowd saying Tee-MUUUUU" joke. Bettman brings up being on ice with Selanne for the 2007 Stanley Cup presentation, and his return to Winnipeg. A nice, national tribute emphasizing Selanne's breadth of accomplishment and influence.
5:10 PM - David McNabb is next, relaying a story about being overseas when the Mighty Ducks traded for Selanne and seeing the impact in Finland. He says the trade is the same in impact for Ducks fans as the Gretzky trade was. Nice anecdote at the end about the true superstars in sports being known by just one name- "There is only one Teemu." "This franchise will always be great because of the legend of number eight."
5:15 PM - Selanne's hero Jari Kurri speaks next. He tells a story of meeting a young Teemu and lending him his car, and getting it back with the tires well worn. Kurri hails Selanne as the the greatest ambassador for Finnish hockey. Cool to hear him reference Jokerit Helsinki, his Finnish club as well.
5:18 PM - Jiggy steps to the podium next, speaking of how Selanne inspired him. A great moment as he highlights seeing Teemu as a dad, saying he looks like a "cool dad" and the kind he'd want to be. After lauding his skill, Jiggy ribs him for having a "muffin" of a shot, not the hardest, and wonders how he fooled so many goalies. Funny, earnest speech.
5:25 PM - They throw to a video next, narrated by George Parros. It features intercut commentary by Selanne, thanking his parents, and then talking about the record-setting rookie season including being "embarrassed" looking back at his infamous celebration. Paul Kariya makes an appearance, speaking of the chemistry. Luc Robitaille, Randy Carlyle, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry are also featured. Teemu reflects on his game 5 overtime goal against Detroit in 2007, talking about how often he practiced that move and how quiet the arena went, knowing they would win the series. He describes the moment of getting the Stanley Cup from Pronger as his greatest moment in hockey.
5:30 PM - Really cool moment after Scott Niedermayer talks about Selanne's influence on growing the sport in Southern California as the video shows several different kids playing street hockey, at The Rinks, and more recreating some of the iconic goals and celebrations from Selanne's career.
5:33 PM - Teemu takes the mic to rapturous applause. The crowd roars for a minute before Selanne begins speaking to quiet them, and opens by thanking all the speakers before him. "I never stop wondering the way so many people have treated me over the years, I'm so thankful." He begins his personal acknowledgements with his parents, then moves on to speaking of the importance of Finland and all of the support from his home country.
5:36 PM - Selanne starts acknowledging the people of Winnipeg, saying the city is known for hockey "and great people." Selanne gets misty-eyed mentioning his agent Don Baizley, who has since passed, saying he was his "north American dad." He thanks the fans of San Jose and Colorado, before thanking everyone with the Ducks beginning with everyone to work at and come to Honda Center. He said it's "such a happy place" for him. Selanne then thanks the Samuelis, saying he hasn't known another owner to do as much in the community as they do.
5:40 PM - Now the thanks the front office folks, Jack Ferreira, Peter McNabb, Brian Burke, and Bob Murray, noting how patient they were in him making his returns. Teemu thanks his coaches, hails the training staff as the "moms" of the sport helping make everything work, thanks the doctors, and arrives last at the players. He acknowledges every teammate he's had, saying how much he misses the game but how much he loved every one. Then it's his family, "I'm such a lucky man having you in my life... You make me so happy." Finally, he thanks the fans, saying how amazing it was and in saying that winning of the Stanley Cup in 2007, "The biggest thing is that we won it right here."
5:46 PM - Massive applause and cheers from the crowd. Several moments where Selanne appeared to choke up and get misty-eyed. He now heads to the far end of the carpet, waving to the fans all the way to watch his number ascend to the rafters. It's a gorgeous banner, same shape as the team banners with a white border, black and patterned like the Ducks old socks with Selanne's name and number on it as it appeared on the back of his jersey. After a brief pause to display it, his family joins him to watch it rise to the rafters all holding each other.
Almost perfect.— Chris Kober (@District5hockey) January 12, 2015
5:55 PM - A plus ceremony all around. Magical evening, and now for the game!