Local hockey legends Teemu Selanne and Teppo Numminen will return to Winnipeg next month to be inducted into the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame.
The two Finns both kicked off their National Hockey League careers in Winnipeg, with Numminen taking a rookie Selanne under his wing in 1992.
“He was like an older brother for me, for the first three months I lived in his house,” Selanne said at a virtual press conference on Friday.
“The start I got in Winnipeg was so special and Teppo was a big part of that.”
Selanne, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 and is the highest-scoring Finn in NHL history, said it’s a special honour to be going into the Jets Hall of Fame alongside a good friend.
He recalled the difficult day he found out he was traded mid-season to Anaheim in 1996, saying he never got to say goodbye to fans. He had played four seasons with the original Jets franchise.
“When you fall in love in this city, and the fans, and then the next day you’re gone … you almost feel that you failed,” he said.
It was a hard day for Numminen, too. He says he was too shocked to speak to reporters.
“That day … we knew something was going to happen, but like, but for everyone when it happens it really shocks you,” he said.
More heartbreaking news was on the horizon for Numminen and the Jets: In the summer of 1996, the franchise moved to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes.
“It was devastating, those two years … hoping there would be a way we wouldn’t have to leave. To see the passion and the caring for the team … it was really tough,” he said.
Numminen played 15 seasons for the franchise, including eight in Winnipeg and seven in Phoenix.
The pair will join Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson, Anders Hedberg, Dale Hawerchuk, Ab McDonald, Lars-Erik Sjoberg, Randy Carlyle and Thomas Steen in the Winnipeg franchise’s Hall of Fame.
The two fan favourites will be inducted at a pre-game ceremony at the Nov. 17 Jets game against the Anaheim Ducks.
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