Just before New Year’s, hockey fans get a chance to witness history when the Finnish ice Hockey Association does what the Anaheim Ducks have already done and retires Teemu’s number 8. His jersey will be lifted to the rafters at Hartwall Arena on December 30 prior to Finland’s 6pm game against Slovakia in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
No player on any of the Finnish national teams will wear the legendary #8 after this. Selanne’s #8 will be the third retired number in Finnish national team history, joining Raimo Helminen’s #14 and Jari Kurri’s #17.
“Teemu had a unique career and we want to honour his achievements both as a player on the ice and as a role model off the ice by retiring his national team jersey,” says Finnish Ice Hockey Association President Kalervo Kummola.
“As Teemu is the patron of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, it is a great opportunity for us to hold the retirement ceremony during the tournament.”
Selanne represented the Finnish national team for the first time at an U16 Four Nations Tournament in Fredrikshavn, Denmark in 1985. In fact, he played his first game at the tournament against Denmark on December 28 – almost exactly 30 years before his jersey retirement ceremony will take place.
During his national team career Selanne played altogether 193 national team games, represented Finland six times at the Olympics, played at five IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships and wore the national team jersey at three Canada/World Cup tournaments.
“Wearing the Finnish national team jersey means a lot to me and I have always done it with pride. It is a huge honour to have my jersey retired by the national team. Thanks to the amazing work the Finnish Ice Hockey Association has done and is doing, I have been able to experience many fantastic things that I am very thankful for. The national team has always been a happy place for me,” says Selanne.
But there’s more. The Hockey Hall of Fame Finland will hold an induction ceremony on December 29, and he will also be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame in the future. And he will also get inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as the second Finnish-born player, following in Jari Kurri’s footsteps. He’ll be eligible for induction in 2017, and is expected to be a first-ballot choice.