-- It may be gray in Helsinki, and it may have been raining for two days, but Tuesday night was Christmas for hockey fans, for Jokerit fans, and for Teemu Selanne
. And like Christmas, even if you don't know exactly what you're going to get, you have a pretty strong feeling that it's going to be something good.
For Teemu Selanne
, it was a standing ovation from a sold-out crowd. Both teams were already on the blue lines when the announcer finally introduced the three Finns on the Ducks team. Toni Lydman
, unable to play, waved from the bench. Saku Koivu
got a hair-raising welcome from the fans. And then the spotlight was on Selanne, who took the ice with 13,000 Finns on their feet, taking the noise levels up another 20 decibels.
"It was awesome. It was unbelievable. I didn't really know what to expect, and I will always remember that welcome," he said.
A couple of minutes later, when the ovations were starting to fade, Selanne and Jari Kurri
, another Jokerit and NHL legend, received a brand-new Jokerit membership card, numbers 8 and 17, from team chairman Harry Harkimo.