The Heritage Classic’s alumni game may have featured Hall of Famers such as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Dale Hawerchuk, but the one player the Winnipeg Jets faithful were looking forward to seeing most was Teemu Selanne.
Selanne’s return to Winnipeg allowed Jets fans to get a look at one of the original franchise’s all-time greatse and relive the memories of Selanne’s brilliant rookie season. That campaign, the 1992-93 season, saw Selanne score an unbelievable 76 goals — breaking the rookie goal scoring record previously held by Mike Bossy — and 132 points. It also offered one of the most memorable moments in Winnipeg hockey history, with Selanne sliding on one knee and mock shooting his airborne glove.
But Selanne gave Jets fans another lasting memory Saturday afternoon in the alumni game.
The Jets and Oilers alumni were locked at 5-5 in the third period when Selanne picked up the puck in the Winnipeg zone and started to make his way up ice. As Selanne cut out front, he was tripped up the Oilers’ Craig Simpson, which resulted in a penalty shot. With 3.6 seconds remaining in the contest, Selanne stepped up to take his potentially game-winning attempt and he delivered a memory for the Winnipeg crowd:
Selanne’s goal was his second of the outing, and second penalty shot goal of the outing, and fifth point of the contest. It wouldn’t have been unrealistic to expect that from Selanne, though, as the 46-year-old is one of the greatest scorers in league history and only two seasons removed from his last game in the NHL.
Despite the fact that Selanne is most remembered for his time as an Anaheim Duck, he has remained one of Winnipeg’s favorite adopted sons. Selected with the 10th overall pick of the original Jets back in 1988, Selanne scored 147 goals and 306 points in 231 games, but he moved on to become a member of the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim by the 1995-96 season.
While he’s not a member of the Hall of Fame yet, there’s no doubting Selanne will be a first-ballot inductee. Over the course of his 1,451-game career, he netted 684 goals and 1,457 points, making him the 11th-highest goal scorer and 15th-highest point-getter in league history.
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