The Winnipeg Jets will honour two of the city’s favourite hockey stars before their game against the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night.
The Jets are adding two names — both associated with the previous Winnipeg franchise in the 1990s — to the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame: Teemu Selanne and Teppo Numminen.
Selanne — a Hockey Hall of Famer, four-time Olympic medallist and one of the highest-scoring players in NHL history — remains a fan favourite in Winnipeg, where he began his North American pro career in 1992.
This game, he said Thursday morning, couldn’t be better-timed, as the Jets take on his other former squad, the Ducks, with whom he won a Stanley Cup championship in 2007.
“It’s great timing that the Ducks are here — two of my favourite teams. I have great memories from both. It’s going to a special night,” he said.
“I just hope it’s going to be a great game. Both teams have a big, big part of my success. I hope it’s going to go to overtime and penalty shots.”
Curt Keilback, longtime voice of the original Winnipeg Jets, reflects on the impact of Teppo Numminen and Teemu Selanne in our community 💙
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) November 17, 2022
Selanne said he’s always been treated “like a king” by Winnipeg hockey fans, and still loves the city today because of the way he was accepted as a local from day one.
“I’ve always said I’m very proud and thankful that I started here,” he said.
“It’s a humble feeling to be here again tonight. It’s an honour for sure.”
His fellow Finn, Numminen, starred on the Jets’ blue line from 1988 until the team relocated to Arizona in 1996.
He said he’s been taking his daughters for a tour around the city — although he had trouble finding his old house, which has since been painted.
“It’s been three or four busy days here,” Numminen said.
“We’ve been driving around Winnipeg… it’s been great to show them the city and where we used to hang out, and tell stories of the past and all the friends we have here. It’s been fun.”
Although both Selanne and Numminen’s Jets careers were played out of the since-demolished Winnipeg Arena, both had positive impressions of the current incarnation of the team’s home rink at Canada Life Centre, where they’ll be honoured before the game Thursday.
“It’s different times and history has changed and moved on — like everything should move on and get better,” Numminen said.
“This is a great facility here. I remember the times after you would leave (the Winnipeg Arena) and step out into the parking lot looking for your car and it’s -30C. Things have changed, but it’s all (focused) around hockey and that’s what matters.”
Selanne and Numminen join Jets legends from the WHA and NHL, including Bobby Hull, Thomas Steen and the late Dale Hawerchuk, in the Jets’ Hall of Fame.
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