Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Teemu Selanne Finland Jersey Retirement

Today the Finland National Team will retire the jersey #8 of Finnish legend Teemu Selanne.

His international career for Finland began back in 1988 when he competed at the European Junior U18 Championships where he led the tournament in scoring with 7 goals and 16 points in just 6 games as Finland took home the silver medal. The following year he competed at the World Junior Championships, where he again led his team in scoring with 5 goals and 10 points in 7 games.

He made his senior level debut at the 1991 World Championships, scoring 6 goals and 11 points in 10 games, just one assist behind teammate Jari Kurri. Later that fall, Selanne participated in the 1991 Canada Cup tournament for Finland, scoring a goal and 2 points in 6 games.

Finland 1991 Canada Cup jersey photo Finland 1991 CC F.jpg
Finland 1991 Canada Cup jersey photo Finland 1991 CC B.jpg
1991 Finland Canada Cup Teemu Selanne jersey
This short lived style was worn by Finland at the 1991 Canada Cup with the cartoon lion head logo, which we recall being the logo from a Finnish bank which sponsored the national team for awhile during the early 1990's

1992 saw Selanne make his Olympic debut in Lillehammer, Norway where he led Finland with 7 goals and 11 points in 8 games with his 7 goals leading all players. Later that year, Selanne made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets, which subsequently limited his participation in the World Championships thanks to the longer NHL season as well as playoff obligations to NHL employers.

He finally returned to the international stage in the spring of 1996 when he skated for Finland at the World Championships while wearing the unfamiliar #88. He was, however, back in his familiar position as the team's leading scorer with 5 goals and 3 assists in 8 games.

Finland 1996 WC jersey photo Finland 1996 WC F.jpg
Finland 1996 WC jersey photo Finland 1996 WC B.jpg
1996 Finland World Championships Teemu Selanne jersey
The "Waving Flag" style from Nike's original entry into supplying the IIHF. The first version of this jersey had navy blue numbers with white trim on the back, which was only visible when it overlapped the blue areas of the flag design. The World Championship version also carries the Warsteiner Beer sponsorship patches on the shoulders.

Later that fall, Selanne was one of the assistant captains of the Finland squad that took part in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey. While the Finns were eliminated early after just four games, Selanne yet again was the team leader in points with 3 goals and 2 assists in their four games.

Finland 1996 WC jersey photo Finland 1996 WCOH F.jpg
Finland 1996 WC jersey photo Finland 1996 WCOH B.jpg
1996 Finland World Cup of Hockey Teemu Selanne jersey
The "Waving Flag" style was used again for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, only now the back numbers matched the sleeve numbers as being navy blue outlined in a medium blue. The sponsor patches from the World Championships are now gone and the jersey sports the smaller 3 inch diameter 1996 World Cup of Hockey logo on the left shoulder as worn by the Nike supplied teams, while the nations which wore Bauer jerseys had a 4 inch diameter logo worn on the upper right chest.

Selanne made his second Olympic appearance at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, the first time the NHL took a break to allow it's top professionals the chance to compete. There, he averaged two points per game with 4 goals and 6 assists in 5 games to lead all players in scoring as he earned his first medal in international competition when Finland defeated Canada 3-2 for the bronze.

In 1999, Selanne returned to the World Championships for the first time in three years and scored 11 points from 3 goals and 8 assists as Finland took home the silver, his first medal from the World Championships. Additionally, Selanne was named as the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Selanne's third Olympic Games came in 2002, this time as Finland's team captain for the first time on the international stage, but the team failed to advance past the Quarterfinals, although they did defeat Russia 3-1 in First Round group play.

After being held to 3 goals at the 2002 Olympics, Selanne had a return to form at the 2003 World Championships when he led the Finnish attack with 11 points in 7 games as his 8 goals led all players in front of the home fans in Helsinki, Finland.

The second World Cup of Hockey arrived in the fall of 2004, and Selanne was once again a key part of the Finland offense. He was second on the club with 4 points in 6 games as a part of their balanced attack that saw the Finns reach the final in Toronto.

Finland 2004 World Cup jersey photo Finland 2004 WCOH F.jpg
Finland 2004 World Cup jersey photo Finland 2004 WCOH B.jpg
2004 World Cup of Hockey Teemu Selanne jersey
This style served Finland well, first being worn at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. It was later worn for the World Championships in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 as well as the 2002 Olympic Games. Then modification saw the banner for the crest change from Suomi to Finland, while the word Suomi now appeared in large letters across the waist for the 2003 and 2004 World Championships and finally the 2004 World Cup of Hockey as seen here.

Selanne sat out the entire 2004-05 season due to the NHL lockout, including the European professional season as well as all international events in order to give his body a chance to heal. The decision to rest that year rejuvenated Seleanne, who nearly tripled his NHL scoring totals from the 2003-04 season as well as leading not only Finland, but the entire 2006 Olympic tournament in goals, with 6, and points, with 11 on his way to being named Best Forward and winning a silver medal.

He would miss the 2006-07 international calendar, but with good reason as the Anaheim Ducks spent the spring winning the NHL's Stanley Cup.

With the Ducks out of the NHL playoffs early, Selanne was once again available for international duty in 2008 where he earned his second World Championship medal with a bronze in his final World Championship appearance, which he announced would be his final international tournament.

However, his retirement from international hockey would be short-lived, as 2010 saw Selanne return to the Olympics once more as Finland won the bronze medal in Vancouver. During Finland's game against Germany, Selanne would become the all-time leading scorer in Olympic hockey history.

His final international tournament came in 2014 at the Sochi Olympics in Russia where Selanne once again captained the team during his sixth Olympic Games.  His 4 goals and 6 points were one point back of the team leader as the Finns would win their third consecutive Olympic medal, this time a bronze, the fourth Olympic medal of Selanne's illustrious national career as he set a record as the oldest player to ever win a medal in Olympic hockey at the age of 43. At the conclusion of the competition, Selanne would be named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

 photo Finland 2014 F.jpg
Finland 2014 Olympic jersey photo Finland 2014 B.jpg
2014 Finland Olympic Teemu Selanne jersey
This highly unusual full bleed flag style was worn only at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. It was paired with a more conventional road blue jersey. For the subsequent World Championships later that spring, the Finns wore a white version of their blue road jersey, ending the use of this style after just one outing.

His final international totals were 54 goals and 48 assists for 102 points in 96 games. He would also retire as the holder of the Olympic record for most career points with 43. During his career, he would win three silver medals, four bronze as well as a runner up finish at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Selanne was inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame in November of 2015.

After today's jersey retirement by the Finland National Team, Selanne's #8 will have been retired by three teams, including the NHL's Anaheim Ducks and his original Finnish club team, Jokerit Helsinki.

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