WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) - Chants of "Teemu" began even before the national anthems were played Saturday night.
Winnipeg has been waiting a long time for its former star Teemu Selanne to return. The only disappointment was that the Finnish Flash hit the ice as a member of the Anaheim Ducks and not the hometown Jets.
When the scoreboard camera zoomed in on the Anaheim bench, Selanne stood up, turned around, and waved to his appreciative fans.
Selanne was even cheered when he touched the puck - the rest of his teammates were booed - a testament to the fans' adoration of the 19-year veteran whose NHL career began with the former Jets franchise.
Fans then gave him a standing ovation when a video tribute was shown welcoming him back to Winnipeg. One fan held a sign that said, "Teemu we forgive you come home."
The 41-year-old right wing began his NHL career with the Jets in the 1992-93 season and set rookie records with 76 goals and 132 points during a campaign Winnipeg fans have never forgotten.
Selanne, who was joined at the game by his wife and four children, said earlier this week he was looking forward to bidding a proper goodbye to Winnipeg fans.
Selanne was traded to the Ducks in February 1996, before the Jets franchise relocated to Phoenix at the end of that season and became the Coyotes. He was later traded to San Jose, and also played for Colorado before returning to Anaheim in 2005.
Heading into Saturday's game, Selanne led the Ducks with 10 goals and 31 points in what could be his final NHL season.