There was no shortage of emotion Saturday night as the city of Winnipeg welcomed back Teemu Selanne. Over 15,000 fans crammed the MTS Center to pay tribute to one of the greatest players in Jets history — and they paid those tributes all night long.
First, there was the raucous/thunderous/deafening (go on, choose an adjective) round of applause when Selanne and the Ducks skated onto the ice:
Then, this video tribute played during an in-game break:
Finally, one last standing ovation at the end of Winnipeg’s 5-3 victory:
Needless to say, Selanne was overwhelmed by the response.
“It was unbelievable,” Selanne told NHL.com. “I didn’t really know what to expect. It was something I could never imagine, it was so special. This is a dream come true to come back and play here one more time.
“Every time when I was on the ice I really enjoyed it. Obviously the support, it was awesome.”
In what had to be one of the most overwhelming experiences of his career, the 41-year-old Finn put forth an impressive display, assisting on two of Anaheim’s three goals. Selanne’s level of play and standing amongst the Winnipeg faithful wasn’t lost on his captain, Ryan Getzlaf, or head coach Bruce Boudreau.
“We were pretty impressed with the way the crowd responded to him, and rightfully so,” Getzlaf told CBC.ca. “It says everything that we already know about him. He’s one of the best humans that we know. It’s not just about the on-ice stuff, it’s about the way he is in the community and the way he is with his fans and friends. He’s a pretty likable guy.”
“That was pretty chilling,” Boudreau added. “Take the game away and it was pretty emotional. I can only imagine what Teemu was feeling during the first 10 minutes of the game.”