Teemu Selanne is a three-time 50-goal scorer, has his name on the Stanley Cup and owns four Olympic medals, so he's used to getting showered with recognition.
However, Selanne will receive a special kind of appreciation Sunday, when the Anaheim Ducks retire his No. 8 prior to their game against the Winnipeg Jets. Despite the wave of emotions that will reverberate around Honda Center, Selanne insisted Thursday that he won't shed any tears of joy.
"I'm not going to cry. Tough guys don't cry," he said with a laugh.
"I don't really have any expectations. I've never been part of anything like this before, so it's going to be very exciting. Obviously it's going to be a special night. It's going to be an emotional moment, for sure. It's a big honor for me. I really appreciate everything that has happened in my career. Seeing that No. 8 going up, it means a lot. It's going to be interesting to see how I feel about it."
Selanne's family will be in attendance along with 60 people from his native Finland and a contingent from Winnipeg, where he began his NHL career with the original Jets franchise in 1992-93 by setting rookie records with 76 goals and 132 points.
"It means a lot," Selanne said. "Everything that has happened in 21 years has been incredible, and Winnipeg is a big part of this. Speaking of this game, when the Ducks play against Winnipeg, it makes it even more special.
"I think there's two things that's the biggest honor for a hockey player. One is if your jersey gets retired and one is the Hockey Hall of Fame. The last one I don't know yet, but for sure I'll try to enjoy this moment. It's going to be a very special night for me."
Selanne spent the majority of his career in Anaheim, beginning with a trade from the Jets to the then-Mighty Ducks in 1996. He was traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2001, signed with the Colorado Avalanche for the 2003-04 season, then returned to Anaheim and spent his final nine NHL seasons with the Ducks. Selanne scored 48 goals in 2006-07, helping lead the Ducks to their first Stanley Cup championship. He had nine goals and 27 points in 64 games last season before retiring as the franchise's all-time leader in almost every offensive category.
"People have no idea how hard it is to win the Cup," Selanne said, reflecting on the Ducks' five-game Stanley Cup Final victory against the Ottawa Senators. "I had to wait 15 years. I was so happy that it happened here, first of all because I was playing for the Ducks, and it was at our home building. It was so special for me. There are no words to describe the feeling.
"At that time, I thought for sure I'm done. There can't be any motivation to do what needs to be done to play in this League, but the passion brought me back. It was a great experience and I'm so happy I came back because I was just following my heart and my passion. It was the right thing to do."