Many fans especially in southern California wondered if veteran forward Teemu Selänne would play again or retire from hockey. We finally have an answer.
The 41-year-old Finnish superstar announced on a video clip at the Anaheim Ducks official web site he will play at least one more season with the team. According to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, it is for $4 million.
Selanne had been working out over the summer following a June 29th arthroscopic operation on his left knee where loose cartilage was removed, he had not made his decision until today to return to the ice. Team physicals will be conducted tomorrow and then full Ducks training camp begins on Saturday at the Honda Center.
With 12 of his 18 National Hockey League seasons spent in Anaheim (including the last six), Selanne has 637 goals and 703 assists during regular season play over his career. He also represented his native Finland five times in the Winter Olympics, most recently in Vancouver just last year.
"I'm very happy that my knee has recovered from surgery and is ready for the season," Selanne said today. "I'm excited and optimistic about what this team can do and thankful to have another opportunity to play in Anaheim."
Selanne will also get at least one chance to make what could be a final visit to the very place he began his NHL career. The Ducks will play the re-born Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on December 17th where fans are expected to give him a rousing welcome and possible goodbye as a player. One of his greatest achievements was accomplished while wearing the uniform of the original Jets, that being all-time NHL rookie records of 76 goals and 132 points during his inaugural 1992-1993 season.
Ducks general manager Bob Murray is thrilled to have Selanne back for another season.
"As he showed again last season, Teemu still has the drive, determination and skill to play at an elite level," Murray said today. "Most importantly for us, his passion comes from not just playing, but playing for the Ducks."
Selanne had 80 points in 73 games last season.
National Hockey League official site (September 15):
Selanne announces, via video, 2011-2012 return
Anaheim Ducks official site (September 15):
He's Back: Ducks sign Selanne to one-year contract
Teemu Selanne's video message
Orange County Register's Ducks Blog (September 15):
Selanne will play with Ducks in 2011-2012