There's little secret that Teemu Selanne is a national hero in his home country of Finland, so it should really come to very little surprise that a Finnish film company pursued the idea to create a documentary detailing the life and career of its most famous son.
And when the Anaheim Ducks decided to add a screening of this documentary to the list of events during it's Forever Teemu week, fans jumped at the chance to be a part of what proved to be a pretty special screening.
Upon arriving to the theater, we were greeted by a huge number of Teemu Selanne jerseys of all sorts, from Winnipeg, to Finland, to every form of a Ducks jersey imaginable, to even a few Jokerit sweaters.
The film was a detailed, behind-the-scenes look into Teemu Selanne’s life, family, and career. Alongside the extensive coverage regarding his unforgettable rookie season and his subsequent phenomenal career, there were small anecdotes that remind us that the Finnish Flash is, in fact, a human. He’s a goofy, jokester, pranking human to be more specific. Selanne’s humor translated beautifully throughout the entire film, as well as during the question and answer session after the credits rolled.
SEL8NNE revealed the dramatic and terrifying car accident that ended his car racing side-hobby. He admitted that he used a pseudonym in order to race in Finland, and he admitted that the crash that ruined the hobby for him (and followed with years of nightmares) was entirely his own fault. (Ed. note: I had never heard this story before, so thus it was completely eye-opening for me. - Kyle)
Comedy surrounded the solemnness of the car accident story, with quick scenes revealing the lighthearted lifestyle that the Selanne family shares at their beautiful home in Coto de Caza, California.
Personal stories from childhood were exposed by interviews with Teemu as well as his older brother, his twin, and his parents. His hockey coaches, teammates, and even several opponents (but fellow countrymen) vocalized their favorite moments with Selanne.
After the final credits, Ducks radio voice Steve Caroll hosted a question and answer session, which just put Teemu’s humor, wit, and lighthearted human nature on display even more.
Here are a few of the best ones on the evening:
"07... is there anything that really beats that?"
"I always say it's hard to describe what it's like to win a Cup and especially when you win at home in front of you guys. It was something really special.
I'm pretty happy we won here because it happened naturally and we won it where I have been the most happy."
"Did you ever serve in the Finnish military and if you did what was your position there?"
"Well you know... they call me Finnish Rambo.
But yeah in Finland, army service is mandatory, so everybody has to go in the army. I served 11 months. It's a men's school. Obviously I was playing hockey at the same time so it got me a little easier there. But it would take a long time to really explain what I was doing there.
But it was a fun time."
"Are you disappointed you were never able to score 700 goals in your career?"
"No not really but I'm happy I scored over 600!
But the numbers were not so big for me. Obviously I always wanted to play well, and a lot of times when people asked me about some kind of... 500 goals or whatever, I said 'You know what, it's just a number.'
Yeah obviously it would have been nice to score 700 but it was never a goal for me. My biggest goal was just to enjoy every day I played."
(Ed note: I did some thinking about how plausible it would be for someone to score 700 goals in the modern NHL and I came up with this way of looking at it:
Picture a guy who scores 30 goals every season. In the modern NHL, this player is considered an all-star; one of the elite echelon players whom franchises are built around and fans buy jerseys of in droves.
That player would have to play for 24 seasons in order to reach the 700 goal mark. And that is assuming they score 30 goals in every single year of their career. Even the some of the greatest players in the modern NHL--some of the greatest athletes of all-time to ever play the game of hockey--will finish having not eclipsed this total.)
"Obviously the Stanley Cup is your greatest team accomplishment. What's your greatest individual accomplishment?"
"Probably the Maurice [Rocket] Richard Trophy for most goals in the league... to lead the league in scoring one year, that was probably mine."
"That goal against Detroit when we won the Stanley Cup in 2007... did you know at that exact moment that you had given your team a chance to win the Stanley Cup?"
"Absolutely it was the biggest goal of my career. And first of all we always had a tough time in Detroit and so we didn't want to come back there in game 7 if we lost at home. That's why it felt so sweet when I scored that goal.
And the whole rink was so silent. There was still 20,000 people and it was absolutely silent... it was awesome!"
"Who was the toughest goalie you ever faced in the NHL and why?"
"Well, first of all, I hate goalies. I don't like goalies. And there's so many tough ones.
I tried to study the different goalies and how they played and what kind of style. But I think Dominik Hasek was one of them that... he had no style. He was hard to read, so I think that's why he was the toughest. And that's why it felt even more sweet when I scored the last goal in game 5 in overtime."
"Even though we all know you had such fantastic chemistry with [Paul] Karyia, who were some of the behind-the-scenes guys you really just enjoyed having around in the locker room or guys you just really enjoyed playing with?"
"Well pretty much my whole career I always enjoyed the tough guys. George Parros is one of them. Obviously I've been very lucky that I haven't met a bad team guy yet. I've been very lucky with that.
But you know for some reason the tough guys... we always have great chemistry. Sean O'Donnell too.
And you know the guys we won the Stanley Cup with... they're more than just teammates, they're like brothers and overall just great teammates."
Steve Caroll: "That '07 team... if I was on another team I wouldn't have said anything bad to those guys. The May's, the Moens, the Parroses that group."
"And when we got Chris Pronger, that's the only guy I ever went personal with on the ice. We hated each other when we played against each other.
He's so mean and big and strong. That's why when Alex Gilchrist called me and told me we got Pronger in the summer I was so happy. All the bruises he gave me... now he's going to give them to somebody else."