When he was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish foundation, he knew immediately he wanted to go to Anaheim and see the Ducks play in person.
The 14- year-old from Beverly, Mass. (about 20 minutes outside Boston) was set to go in October to see a Ducks game and meet the team. Unfortunately, that week a couple Ducks players were diagnosed with the mumps, and he was unable to visit the Ducks locker room (the rest of the trip went ahead as planned). When his two favorite players -- Cam Fowler and Corey Perry -- heard the news, they wanted to make sure that the team made it up to Shaelin when the Ducks played the Bruins in March in Boston.
This morning at TD Garden, Shaelin received the royal treatment. He rode to the morning skate with Fowler and Perry, received his own locker in the Ducks locker-room, went to the gameday team meeting and watched the skate, followed by lunch with the team. Shaelin will be back at TD Garden to watch the Ducks take on the Bruins tonight.
Earlier this month I made my annual visit to Oak Grove Elementary School, whose principal, Jill O’Connell-Bogle, is a longtime family friend. There I spoke in front of approximately 275 fourth- and fifth-graders about what I do for the Ducks, and I spent most of the time answering questions from the kids, some harder to answer than others.
The Oak Grove visit is always made even more fun by the fact that one of the teachers, Mr. Elliott, is a massive Kings fan who encourages his students to pass on that passion with their questions. This was of course much easier to take before the Kings won two Stanley Cups in two seasons, and just so happened to knock off the Ducks on their way to the second one.
As is custom in the days following my visit to the school, I receive fantastic thank-you notes from each and every student. And I read every one.
Once again, this year's batch was incredibly entertaining, creative and of course heartfelt, except from those from Mr. Elliott's class, which mixed in just the right touch of mean spiritedness.
Here are some of my favorites, with my comments below each:
This kid has good instincts, although I want to believe the word "outstanding" is underneath the Wite-Out.
Alyssa really loves Capture the Flag.
Mad, but never that mad.
Well that came out of nowhere. But yes, I do. Who wouldn't love Buffalo Wild Wings?
Did my boss tell you to write that?
Annnd here come Mr. Elliott's students.
Yes, I do know all of that.
Can't say I approve of this one.
Something fishy's going on here...
... and there it is.
You know, I never thought to ask him.
Another thing I never thought to ask.
I'm thinking Sophia's a cat person.
Daisy is nothing if not blunt.
The 23-year-old defenseman had little indication he would be dealt, and certainly thought he was in the clear when he noticed the NHL trade deadline had passed at 3 p.m. Eastern.
“It was by the end of the deadline, so I wasn’t expecting it whatsoever,” said Despres this morning following his first morning skate as a Duck at Honda Center. “Then my phone blew up. I’ve never gotten traded in my life, so it was definitely a shock.”
Despres, who is soft-spoken but looks you right in the eye when he speaks, admits he was a bit upset when he first heard the news. “I was definitely [ticked] off a little bit at the beginning,” he says. “I was with the organization for six years, so it was definitely tough on me. Some of my friends, I’m leaving them behind. But I’ll make new friends here, and it looks like a really good team to be with.
“So far, I like what I’ve seen in the room,” Despres says. “The guys are really nice, they have good team chemistry, and it’s a really good team. So I’m excited about the opportunity to be with the Ducks.
While the realization of being traded sunk in, Despres’ focus inevitably had to turn toward getting to Phoenix to meet up with his new team, who were playing the Coyotes the following night.
“I found out about the trade around 3:30 Pittsburgh time, and at 4 my agent told me I should leave that night,” But the paperwork wasn’t done, so they couldn’t book my flight yet. When they finally called me about getting a flight that night, I had like 15 minutes to pack. I got on the plane, got to Phoenix and I landed around 1 a.m., which was 3 a.m. Pittsburgh time. So, I was definitely a little tired when I got to the hotel.”
He didn’t run into his new Ducks teammates until the following morning over breakfast at the hotel, when he ran into Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Palmieri and another player picked up by Anaheim at the deadline – former Panther Tomas Fleischmann. “They were of course very welcoming,” Despres says. “It’s a small world in hockey, so we all know a little bit of everyone.”
Despres took part in the morning skate at Gila River Arena in Glendale, and he was thrust into the Ducks lineup back there last night, wearing No. 24 and playing a major role in a 4-1 Anaheim victory. In just over 20 minutes of ice time, Despres had an assist and a plus-3 rating with a game-high five hits. Ducks fans can expect more of that physicality this season and beyond.
“I’m a physical defenseman,” Despres says. “I make a good first pass. I’m a strong skater, and I get the shots through to the net.”
Oh, and the name of the French-Canadian from Laval, Quebec? According to him, it’s pronounced see-MONE de-PREE, and here is audio of him saying it, for good measure.
Click here if audio won't play
Despres will temporarily reside in a nearby hotel until he finds something permanent in Orange County (and Ariane is joining him out here soon). And now that he’s had time to digest his sudden and unexpected change in locale, he’s relishing it.
“This is very good team in a nice city with warm weather,” Despres says. “I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
Chris Wagner is expected to be in the Anaheim lineup tonight after being recalled by the Ducks from Norfolk of the AHL yesterday morning. After enduring the lengthy cross-country flight from Virginia to SoCal, the native of Walpole, Massachussetts was on the ice for today’s morning skate in anticipation for what’s to come tonight at Honda Center.
Wagner, who was taken by Anaheim in the fifth round (122nd overall) of the 2010 Draft, made his NHL debut last October 17 at Minnesota. He was soon sent down and brought back up again to play one game in mid-November, coincidentally a clash with the Kings at Staples Center.
Wagner, still looking for his first NHL point, racked up 26 (including 13 goals) in 41 games for Norfolk this season. At the time of his recall, the 6-0, 202-pounder co-led the Admirals in scoring and goals.
After this morning’s skate, the normally babyfaced Wagner -- who is sporting a little bit of facial hair -- talked about the process of being called up to the big club.
How are you told by the team when you get recalled?
Usually our assistant GM down there [Bob Ferguson] calls me, tells me the flight, and everything else. It’s usually an eight-hour process to get across the country. This time I found out yesterday morning, first thing. We were at home, since we were supposed to play Providence this weekend. I had about three hours to get ready, which is probably the most time I’ve had when I’ve been called up. The last time, I was ready to play a game that night, and they called me in the afternoon and told me to get on a plane. It was a little more relaxed this time. It was around 8:30 or 9 in the morning, and I was actually half-asleep when they called me, so that woke me up real quick. We weren’t supposed to be at the rink until 2:00 yesterday because of snow, so I was trying to sleep in. But that’s okay.
It’s been cold back there, so along with everything else, it’s a nice change of pace weather-wise.
It’s awesome. It’s why you come to Cali. They’ve had a lot of snow back there recently, which is unusual for them, but this is great.
What is your focus when you’re on the way out here?
You kind of hope when you get called up that you’re going to play right away, so you mentally prepare that way. Especially this game, one of the biggest games of the year, I’m pretty excited. It’s going to be an intense, physical game.
What’s your evaluation of your season so far?
I obviously wanted to get games in the NHL this year, which is my main goal. Hopefully I’ll get a few more down the road here. It’s been a decently successful year, but you can always do better. It’s been the most positive so far in my pro career.
For fans who haven’t seen you much this year, what can they except you to bring?
I just try to be physical as much as I can, try to be defensively smart. I pitched in offensively down there, and hopefully I get more comfortable and that translates down here.
What is the feeling among the guys about the team moving to San Diego next season?
Norfolk has been great, but we’re excited. It’s tough when you’re going up and down and going through those long plane rides. We’re definitely excited, and we’ve only heard great things about San Diego. Of course you hope you’re up here, but if you’re down there, it’s not a bad spot to be.
Monday night, Ducks goalie John Gibson saved 35 of 38 shots and turned away two of three attempts in the shootout (the first of his NHL career) to help the Ducks to a dramatic 4-3 win over the visiting Red Wings.
That performance -- not to mention what he has done the last several games with Frederik Andersen out with an injury -- are what Ducks fans have come to expect of Gibson after he was drafted in the second round in 2011 and made a splash last regular season and playoffs.
But this season hasn't gone quite as planned for the 21-year-old Gibson, who had a tough start by giving up six goals to the Penguins in the season opener in his native Pittsburgh. He was sent to Norfolk to get some playing time while the Ducks leaned heavily on Frederik Andersen, then came back up to Anaheim and played well before suffering a groin injury in early November.
Andersen's injury (he was hit in the back of the head by the falling net on February 8 in Tampa) coupled with Ilya Bryzgalov's ineffective play has Gibson playing a starring role for the Ducks yet again.
And he's responded as expected, with wins in his last three games, including that one last night vs. Detroit.
While Gibson isn't the most gregarious of Ducks, he has the flat-lined temperament ideal for a goalie expected to endure the ups and downs of the professional game.
Here's a little more about Gibson:Nickname
Baldwin HS in Pittsburgh [he was actually cut from the school's hockey team as a freshman]
Favorite NHL player growing up
Probably Mario Lemieux, just from growing up in Pittsburgh and watching him. That’s why I got into hockey.
Favorite hockey moment of your career
It would probably be winning the World Juniors and my first NHL game, in Vancouver [an 18-save shutout win].
Favorite TV shows
I watch all the stuff on Netflix, like Breaking Bad and Prison Break, and I like classic shows like Friends.
I listen to a lot of rap and techno, but I don’t really have a favorite necessarily. I like Drake.
I always liked Friends, so I’ll go with Jennifer Aniston
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
I’ve been told I look like that guy from Friday Night Lights with the long hair [Taylor Kitsch], so I’ll go with that.
I like sushi, chicken and pasta, all that stuff.
Favorite vacation spot
Anywhere there is nice water and sun.
Unfortunately, there is no photo available of Matt Beleskey when he, according to him, "Rode my stick in a AAA tournament when I was younger, after scoring in a game."
Here's the video:
You see, not only is Lovejoy an Anaheim Ducks defenseman, he’s also a die hard and passionate Patriots fan. The native New Englander (born and raised in New Hampshire) watched yesterday’s Super Bowl at home with his 1-year-old daughter Lila (more on that below), and endured the highs and lows of yesterday’s thrilling game. He talked about it after practice at Honda Center.
First of all, where did you watch the game?
We had a team Super Bowl party, which I did not attend. I would have been there had any of the other 31 teams be in the game instead of the Patriots. The last two Super Bowls the Patriots have been in, I’ve attended my professional team’s party, and the guys want to jab me in the ribs anytime a play went wrong. And I’m not an obnoxious fan. I sit there and want to concentrate, and the guys want to take a shot at me. So I did not attend the Anaheim Ducks party. My wife [Avery] did, and I stayed home and focused on the game on my couch with my daughter. She was asleep for awhile, then we hung out and cheered. She had her Tom Brady jersey on.
What were you going through during those final minutes?
I was so emotional. I have so much respect for passionate fans of teams. I don’t know how hockey fans do that 82 games, plus playoffs. The [16+] Patriots games, I’m a wreck for. It’s just so much stress, yet so fun.
What was your reaction to that interception at the end?
I thought the Patriots had a very good chance of winning, and then [Jermaine Kearse] made that ridiculous catch with about a minute left, and it just had shades of Mario Manningham and David Tyree from past Super Bowls. So, I was just crushed. I thought, Here we go again. I was 98 percent sure that Marshawn Lynch was gonna pound it in, and if not, Russell Wilson was gonna run it in himself. I couldn’t believe they threw that pass in that situation. What a defensive play that was. As a defensive player, it’s a play I dream about making.
Did you yell and scream?
Well, during the Baltimore [playoff] game, I was yelling loudly after lots of plays, and every time I yelled, my daughter would cry. So I started cheering silently because I didn’t want that to happen. It was more of a sense of relief than incredible excitement. I just took a deep breath, and was so happy.
I had texts going with friends from New England. I go out of my way to not talk trash. I don’t want to rub it in if we win, and I don’t want to eat it if we lose. I was quietly so satisfied and excited. I had a couple friends who went to the game, and brothers and family members who were just as excited as I was.
We’ve talked about this before, but tell us again about your roots as a Patriots fan.
I grew up in New Hampshire, which of course is part of New England. In 1996, I was 12 years old and the Patriots went to the Super Bowl and lost to Brett Favre’s Green Bay Packers, and I was hooked after that. I was a casual fan as a little kid, but when Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells led them to the Super Bowl, I was so excited. When Belichick came in 2000 and Tom Brady arrived in 2001, those were some of the most fun teams to be a fan of. They’re consistently good, they’re always fun to watch and they’re always in contention to go to the Super Bowl. I can understand why people aren’t fans of them. I don’t blame you. They’re arrogant and hateable, but they’re my team. These are the best days to be a Patriots fan. They’ll never be better than this.
You happen to be a professional athlete, but are you a typical New Englander who’s in love with Tom Brady?
Absolutely. In past situations, where you have to put your celebrity crush up on the Jumbotron, I have written that my crush was Tom Brady. He’s still up there. The level of excellence he’s maintained forever, how he lives his life, four Super Bowl wins, six opportunities, I think he’s just such a special athlete. I’ve never met him, and I don’t think I want to. I just want to live in awe of him.
The one we received this morning ... I'll let it speak for itself:
Hello Anaheim Ducks!
I was watching TV the other day, and saw a show called "My 600 Pound Life," about extraordinarily obese people trying to lose weight. These are the type of people that can't fit through regular doors, need special beds and equipment, and the like.
I am not a huge hockey fan, but am familiar with the sport, though not all the rules, regulations, and nuances. Is there anything in the rulebook that would prevent a hockey team from employing one of these mega-obese people as a goalie? Some of them are so huge that, especially once they are wearing pads and a uniform, pretty much the entire goal, if not the entire goal, would be blocked if you just plopped one of these guys down on the ice in front of the net!
Admittedly, it would look silly, and this extremely overweight person would need help getting on and off the ice, but if the end result is wins, then so what if the goalie looks a bit ridiculous?
Have the Ducks ever considered getting an extremely oversized person to do this? Is it allowed by the rules? I figured this would have been attempted by someone at some point if it was allowed, much like Bill Veeck put a midget up to bat at one point, knowing there was no way the opposing pitcher could throw him strikes. But, perhaps hockey owners are a more serious bunch, and there's never been a renegade owner willing to do this.
Please let me know your thoughts on this idea, and the feasibility of its implementation. Thank you!
But last night's first goal came from Kyle Palmieri (though it was a goal we didn't realize was a goal until later). It was the eighth goal in just 20 games for Palmieri, who missed the first month of the season with an ankle injury, came back hot with four goals in his first five games, then was forced to sit six more games with shoulder issues.
Here's a little more on Palmieri:
Smithtown, New York
Favorite NHL players growing up
I was a big Rangers fan, and I grew up kind of right after they won the Cup in ’94. So Mark Messier and Adam Graves were guys I liked to watch.
Favorite hockey moment of your career
Winning the World Junior Championship has to be up there. It was obviously an honor to represent my country, but to win the gold medal and to do it against the Canadians was pretty cool.
Super Troopers is probably No. 1. I could watch that all day. I hate scary movies. I haven’t seen a scary movie in about 10 years.
Favorite TV shows
Suits is probably my favorite. Graceland, Sons of Anarchy. I like those big drama shows.
Anything country, really. A little bit of rap here and there.
Someone on your iPod you’re ashamed of
Iggy Azalea has really come on strong, so I don’t know if I’m that ashamed about her.
Mila Kunis is definitely up there.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
What’s the guy’s name from X-Men? Hugh Jackman. He plays Wolverine and I have similar body hair.
Anything Italian. I eat everything except Indian food.
Favorite Orange County restaurant
Mastro’s, Teemu’s place (Selanne’s Steak Tavern) or any other good steakhouse
Favorite vacation spot
I went to Santorini in Greece three years ago, and that’s still my favorite.
Who’s the best-dressed Duck?
I’d say Beleskey
And the worst-dressed?
Cogliano has a very limited wardrobe
Do you have a secret talent?
I’m a decent cook. Some of the guys have come over to my house for dinner, and I think they enjoy my cooking. They still keep coming over.
Teemu MemoriesAs part of Teemu Tribute Night this Sunday, fans were asked on Twitter and Facebook to tell us their favorite memories of Teemu from the past several years, including any stories, photos or anything else that expresses what Teemu has meant to them. Following are the fan submissions:
Teemu has been a huge part of my life since I was a little boy watching him skate his first games as a Mighty Duck. I will never forget when I was at Famous Footwear and my mom said "Logan look! It's Teemu Selanne!" and I was too afraid to go up and get his autograph. Since then, I have witnessed live Teemu raise the Stanley Cup over his head back in June of 2007 and have had the pleasure of chatting with him over the years after games and practices, all while bringing up that Famous Footwear story. He was a huge reason why I began playing hockey and following the Mighty Ducks (now Anaheim Ducks). I will forever wear my signed Selanne jersey, keeping his legacy living on! Kiitos, Teemu!
In March of 2014, my boyfriend and I travelled from our hometown of Sudbury, ON Canada to go see a Ducks game in Anaheim. The Ducks are my boyfriend's favorite sports team since he was a child, and Teemu Selanne was his favorite player. The day of the game arrived and Andrew couldn't be more excited!! When the Ducks hit the ice for warm ups, #8 was nowhere to be found. Little did we know, Selanne was out sick with the flu that night. Andrew had bought these tickets about 5-6 months before the actual trip so you can imagine his disappointment, on top of the Ducks losing to a shootout against the Montreal Canadiens.
The following night, we were making dinner plans when we decided to hit up Selanne's restaurant in Laguna Beach in hopes of running into him there. As we were walking up to the entrance of the restaurant, there he was!! Just standing there talking with some friends. Andrew ran back to the car to grab the jersey I had gotten him for Christmas that year for Selanne to sign.
Anyone who knows my boyfriend knows that he doesn't show excitement all that often, but the look on his face that night was priceless!! We posed for a few pictures until we got the one that Andrew, myself and Selanne liked the best.
That moment truly made a once in a lifetime trip, truly amazing!!
My dad had been Teemu's biggest fan since his career began with the Ducks. My family has owned our season tickets since the beginning of the franchise, and we had never met Teemu, our favorite player. For my dad's 50th birthday, my mom and I set up a surprise for my dad to meet his player "idol" on the last game of the season, Fan Appreciation Night. After the game was over, our ticket manager came to tell us that she wanted to discuss possibly upgrading our seats, so we followed her down to the lower levels of Honda Center. Little did my dad know that where she was taking us, we would be ready right when Teemu came out from the locker room.
When we got there, there were lines of reporters and other fans ahead of us, all anticipating the same thing as we were. However, when Teemu walked into the hallway, he came directly to us first and was so kind as to talk with us, take photos and sign all of our jerseys and a special puck for my mom at home. The strange thing was that there was a camera crew there to interview my dad about Teemu, so we still aren't quite sure where that video ended up. All in all, Teemu was so classy (as always) and it was a magical moment for all of us to meet the legendary Finnish Flash.
My family met Teemu at a youth hockey tournament. He was eating chili watching my kids’ game. Once my kids knew he was there they ran up to meet him. He signed autographs for all of them and even wrote a note for the one that was on the ice. He will forever be one of my favorite Mighty Ducks, so generous and gracious with the fans.
I have so many, but here are two that are very special to me. Back in 2012 when I thought he was going to retire, I made a special photo book for him. I waited outside Honda Center before a practice, as he walked up I handed him the book. To this day, I would love to know if he liked it. He said thank you with that great smile. It contained all of the pictures I took of him at many events from 2005 until 2012. I know people are always wanting something from him, and I wanted to give him something special from my heart. It included some great pictures of him and Saku and and some of his other teammates. I thought it would be something special he could have once he retires.
My second was, in 2013 I was visiting my family in Ohio. We got to go and see the Ducks play in Columbus. My two young cousins worked all day on posters asking for a puck from Teemu. During warmups, he saw the two boys and me in my Ducks jersey and flipped a puck over to both boys. They were so excited. I brought the pucks back with me to Anaheim. The day after Christmas, I got Teemu to sign both pucks. He stated he remembered that game and flipping the pucks to my cousins’ kids. Super guy, super memories. I sure miss him doing that at Honda Center and I am sure alot of young fans miss him doing that as well.
It was a few years back during the post-Thanksgiving game against Chicago, and I was in the Jack Daniels club during the first intermission. The Ducks had just unveiled the new third jersey (now home jersey), which of course I had immediately purchased upon my arrival to the Pond. I was wearing my new jersey proudly, and had put my old Teemu jersey, which I arrived in, into the gift bag for safe keeping.
Suddenly, a woman rushed past me to a table nearby, exclaiming "I got Teemu's autograph!" At the time, Teemu was sitting out the game with an injury.
I immediately pulled her aside, asking "where is he?!" She pointed to the nearest box, where I saw him standing with his two little boys by his side. I hurriedly asked to borrow her pen, pulled my now-retired Teemu jersey out of the bag and casually but smoothly bee-lined it for the box. Not smooth enough—I was stopped short by an usher who was clearly positioned there for this very purpose. Undeterred, I held my jersey up in the air and yelled "Teemu!" He turned, spotted me, and immediately motioned for me to enter his box. I side-stepped the usher, beaming. Teemu shook my hand, thanked me for my support, and placed his iconic signature over the #8 on the back of my jersey.
He was polite, gracious, and welcoming. The authenticity of his appreciation for his fans was clear to see. I was too star-struck to remember to ask for a photo—but it didn't matter. He made my day, and my season.
I now have the jersey custom framed on my wall, surrounded by the 2007 Stanley Cup patch and four of Teemu’s trading cards. Thank you Teemu! Go Ducks!!!
My memories of Teemu run so far back. Not so much on meeting him personally but in the sense of falling in love with hockey. I can remember going to games when I was younger than 10 and seeing Selanne and Kariya. It was so much fun to watch and is a very special time in my childhood. Then transitioning to his return to the Ducks, this is what brought me back to Hockey.
I had not really paid attention after the cup run in 03, then hearing Teemu was back made me watch again. Now I am a diehard fan of the team, and I don't know if I would have even come back to hockey if it was not for Teemu. It is difficult to explain how much of an impact someone you have never met has had such a distinct impact on your life, but this is the case for Teemu on me. For that I would like to say thank you so much. Thank you for all the one more years. Thank you for the Stanley Cup. Thank you for all the memories. And most of all thank you for being Teemu.
I live in Longueuil (near Montreal) and I'm a Ducks fan since ‘93. Teemu is some kind of an inspiration to me. His determination always mean a lot to me and served to me as a example to achieve some steps in my life.
Last year, the last time he came with the Ducks in Montreal (vs Canadiens), I wanted to meet him as well as to show him his face I've tattooed on me so he can sign it (crazy right? ahah). I've worked hard to have this chance because it's not so easy to meet a celebrity without any contact. Luckily, I was at the good place at the good moment and I've meet someone who's now a good friend/contact to me who wanted to help me in my quest to ''meet the Finnish Flash''. FINALLY, I had the unique chance to finally meet him. Honestly, that was crazy and funny. I didn't know what to expect at first but after a moment, I was like wow, this is a gentlemen. Pretty kind of him, he took a picture with me, signed my jersey and my tattoo.
One of the best moments in my life. I hope I'll be able to meet him again! Thank you, Z.M. You know who you are !
It was 1996 and Teemu had just been traded to the Ducks. We were at Fan Faire at Disneyland. They would put a different player in each "land" and you would get a schedule of who was going to be there at certain times. I really wanted to get Paul Kariya's autograph, so my friend and I headed over to what was going to eventually be his line. Everyone pretty much had the same idea and the line seemed snaked around the park. They cut the line off at some point but those of us in line already ran out of time to reach Paul. The event only lasted until a certain time and pretty much all of the players had left to go home, Kariya included.
One player stayed and signed for everyone that had been waiting in line for hours. That player was Teemu Selanne. He was new to the organization at the time but still cared enough about the fans to go above and beyond what was asked of him. It happened almost 20 years ago now, but I still remember it to this day. I knew very little about him as a player that day but learned so much about him as a person. Thank you for being you Teemu.
I'm a 15-year-old girl from Germany. And as most people might know, ice hockey is not the most popular sport here. And before 2014 I didn't know anything about hockey. But then, one day, when I watched TV, and there were the Olympic winter games in Sochi, I watched my first ever hockey game: USA vs. Finland.
After the first couple of minutes I fell in love with the game. It was so fast and exciting to watch. And then my eye caught that one guy on the Finnish team. I don't know why, but I just liked him. His name was Teemu Selänne. I Googled him and found out that he played in the NHL for the Anaheim Ducks. I didn't know what the NHL was so I did a lot of research. Since then everything was about hockey. I learned the rules, watched videos and basically tried to find out as much as possible about hockey. I know it's only been a year since then but now I know a whole lot about hockey. And even though there is a big time difference, I watch almost every game live (most of the time at 2.30 a.m!!) or I watch them after I come back from school. I'm a huge Ducks fan and all that just because of Teemu. He truly changed my life and he'll be in my heart forever.
I have been a Ducks fan since 1993. When Teemu joined the team, there was a new kind of excitement he brought with him. It seemed as if the team finally "clicked". My dad, who passed away in 1999, was a huge hockey fan, and his favorite player was Jari Kurri. After seeing Teemu play, my dad said, "Do you see that young Finnish guy over there? He's going to be the next Kurri... or greater ." My dad was always right!
When he left to San Jose and then Colorado, I was pretty upset, even more so when his career was in question with his knee injury. I was completely thrilled when he finally came back "home" to Anaheim.
When I first met my boyfriend, he asked me who my favorite Ducks player was. Who else? A few days later I was the new owner of a Winnipeg Jets Teemu signed jersey. Coincidently we have been together almost "8" years! I had attended many Ducks events (being a seat holder for 20 years!), and he was always the gracious one to sign autographs and pose for pictures with the fans. One of the best surprises was when we walked into the Club entrance one night only to find Teemu "working" at the concierge desk! Another time, we sat in the penalty box for warm ups and watch him get into his "Flash mode" up close.
The past few days have brought back so many Teemu memories! We were so fortunate to see the Selanne screening last night and learned so much more about him. Just when you thought you couldn't love this guy any more! What an amazing career! Thank you Teemu, and congratulations on an amazing career. You will be missed, and we hope to see you and your beautiful family around the OC!
Two years ago, my husband became very ill and ended up needing emergency surgery where he almost lost his life. Three surgeries later, with the help of Violent Gentlemen and Sheldon Souray, we were back at the game and were able to meet Selanne on the benches after they played. We were blown away by the friendliness and warmth we felt from someone we had never met before! He made us feel like family. He made sure that every last bit of memorabilia was signed, and even held our friends baby for a little while.
We are so lucky to have watched such an amazing and dedicated player on the ice for all of these years, and we wish him nothing but a lifetime of happiness from here on out. Thank you for being such a big light our lives, Selanne! You will never be forgotten.
Sometimes, Honda center allows local adult league hockey teams to play a game on their ice after a game. My brother had one such opportunity. After the game Teemu approached him and told him he had been watching the game and that he had talent and he should consider going pro. It's pretty awesome that Teemu would take the time after playing his own game, to sit and watch a beer league game.
To impress the girl I was dating, I took her to a Ducks game and we were fortunate enough to meet Teemu after the game at a restaurant. As we had our picture taken, I inexplicitly threw up bunny ears behind Teemu. He was a great sport about it. That girl is now my wife, and of course Teemu is her (our) favorite player. Thanks Teemu!
My senior year of high school in 2007. I was a HS golfer who was taking private lessons to further my chances of being an impact player, just like Teemu, at the college I was about to attend that coming fall. I had shown up early to my lesson at Tijeras Creek Golf Club and began hitting practice shots to warm and tune up. I recognized this voice but couldn't place it. I ran through all my acquaintances and still couldn't place it. Finally I took a big stretch and at the exact same time I saw Teemu getting a new club from his bag. I instantly turned into the little girl who was meeting her idol for the first time (I was much much younger when he began playing hockey).
After his lesson my coach introduced me to him and I spoke with him for a few moments. During that time not only did I embarrass myself and make him feel old but I also received words of encouragement and praise for my swing. Embarrassingly I was so star struck that I did not ask him to sign anything for me.
1st was at the Fedorin Cup charity event. Teemu made himself available to all his fans for pictures and signatures. 2nd was at the Fan Fest last year. After every other player left, Teemu stayed over 2 extra hours to make sure EVERYONE in line got his signature and/or picture. He is one of the most FAN friendly players in the NHL
There are two things that come to mind. The first was when the Ducks won the Cup. I remember looking down at the Ducks bench and seeing Teemu jump up and down like a kid at Christmas. The second came at the Fedorin Cup a few years ago. I got him to sign my hat, and when I told that it was the hat I wore the night the Ducks won the Cup, he just looked so happy and had the biggest grin on his face
Teemu memories. So many! I would have to put them all together and state that no matter how many times I meet him, no matter how many times I've asked for an autograph or photo, he greets me as if he's known me forever, always with a smile, and never annoyed at yet another request! He has made hockey part of my life on a daily basis, has given me and my family something we'll share forever and exemplifies a world class athlete, in every way! And of course...who could forget that Game 5 goal?!! Teemu, thanks for everything!!!!
It was Teemus's 1st day with the Mighty Ducks, and I had taken my kids to a practice game at the rink that day to get some of the players autographs and hope to see Teemu. We watched the whole practice and got a few autographs but no Teemu. As we were getting ready to leave and the practice was over, we see this car pull into to parking lot and who do you think it is but Teemu!!! He was wonderful with all the kids and got out of the car to sign autographs and take pictures with all them that were there :). He won my heart that day!! Love you Teemu <3
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