Hello all! This is my first blog in English. Let’s go through some of the latest news.
First of all, I spent two weeks in Palm Desert, California, shooting a Finnish sports reality show “Superstars”. I want to thank [alpine skier] Kalle Palander, [figure skater] Kiira Korpi, [tennis ace] Jarkko Nieminen, [rally driver] Marcus Grönholm and [Formula 1 star] Mika Häkkinen for making it a memorable experience, one of the best things I’ve ever done. I think we’ll all remember this for a long time. I also want to thank the production team at Nelonen, fifty hardowrking people did everything they could to make the show a success, and I can’t wait to see the premiere on April 10.
Then over to hockey news. The first World Cup rosters were announced recently and this time we’ll see two select teams in the tournament – that I think it’s the second greatest hockey tournament, behind the Olympics – in Team Europe and Team North America for the under-24-year-old North Canadian and American players. It’s an interesting experiment and I think it’ll make for great hockey.
I’ve also had the privilege to get invited to Team Finland’s executive staff as Advisor to Team Management. It’s great to be a part of a fine team with wonderful people. It’s a little funny that the entire first five-man unit from Turin Olympics 2006 is back with Team Finland with Jere Lehtinen (GM), Saku Koivu (advisor to the coaches), Teppo Numminen (assistant coach) and Kimmo Timonen (advisor and scout) also being members of the management team.
Another big topic in the news has been the doping control of NHLers. In the NHL, a player gets tested 4-6 times a season, albeit by the league itself. Now the NHL has blocked Wada from testing players during the World Cup training camps which leads to unnecessary speculation.
Rigorous testing is the only way to keep sport clean, regardless of the league the players play. Wada should have the right to test any athlete at any given time.
Recent doping news have been depressing, when the athletes testing positive are big names and have used the same drug, which was baned a couple of months ago. Every failed doping test has to be taken seriously and it should be remembered that it’s the athlete him or herself who’s responsible for everything they eat, drink or inject into their bodies. Blaming others or claiming ignorance doesn’t help.
The battle against doping is long and hard. You have to wonder whether using illegal drugs is a threat or an oppornity for the athlete. I think the only way that would make athletes think long and hard about using banned substances is an automatic life-time ban for serious doping offences. I’m sure that would at least make a person stop and think whether it’s a chance worth taking.
And finally, I can’t even express how excited I am about the alumni game at the NHL Heritage Classic outdoor game in my beloved Winnipeg next October. Agains the Oilers. There will be so many fantastic players and superstars, including Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Dale Hawerchuk, Phil Housley, Randy Carlyle, Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson, Teppo Numminen – to mention just a few! Remember, Wayne Gretzky, for example, has only played in one alumni game since he retired, in 2003, so the October 22 game will surely be interesting.
The spring is almost here, enjoy! Ciao!
– Teemu Selänne