“When will we see the next Teemu Selanne?” is a question that will nag the minds of Finnish hockey fans for the next few years in a world without Selanne on NHL ice; however, whether or not Selanne will play in a different league is another question.
Last week, Selanne announced in a press conference the creation of the Teemu Selanne Hockey Academy in Finland. Selanne expanded on his reasoning for opening a hockey school, saying:
We have goalie schools all over the world, especially in Finland, but not goal scoring schools. That’s what I want to do.
The Kirkkonummi-based hockey academy, approximately 20 miles west of Finland’s capital, Helsinki, has had its complex planned by Selanne and his wife, Sirpa for the past few years, and they expect the two-rink complex to open in three years. Selanne hopes this new academy will help young hockey players learn what it takes to get into the NHL.
What’s unique to this academy, Selanne says, is that it will not be held exclusively to Finnish-born players.
We want the best young players whose goal is in [the] NHL, from Finland, but also from Sweden, Russia and why not from North America. We want to co-operate with federations and junior clubs. They could send their forwards here to learn.
Not only has the Finnish Flash made his impact in the hockey community of Southern California, but he hopes to be making an impact in the country that he was born in, where the magic began when the teenage Selanne played for Jokerit.
Reporters of course tried to sneak in questions in regards to Selanne’s future with the team he began playing for, Jokerit, but all Selanne said was:
Playing in Jokerit is tempting, that’s for sure. We’ll see. We’ll eventually have some kind of deadline for that decision, but not yet. We are approaching this situation same way like we did with Brian Burke and Anaheim in 2007 [when] we I thought I’d retire the first time. Burke said to me back then that take as long as you need.
All fans of the game secretly hope for a way to see Selanne play hockey professionally forever, but regardless of the looming Jokerit decision, it’s nice to see number eight give back to hockey communities around the globe.
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