Teppo Numminen, a 20-year veteran with the Winnipeg Jets/ Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres, as well as a decorated international hockey player, officially announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League.
Numminen, 41, a three-time NHL All-Star (1999, 2000, 2001) appeared in a total of 1,372 NHL games and recorded 117 goals and 520 assists for 637 points in his career.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play with and against the best players in the world for so many years,” said Numminen. “Playing hockey in the NHL and also for my country, Finland, was very enjoyable. I want to thank my teammates, coaches, fans, and the media for all the great years.”
Drafted 29th overall in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, Numminen, 41, made his debut in the 1988-89 season with the Jets, following his participation in the 1988 World Junior Championships and 1988 Winter Olympics with Finland. Numminen led Winnipeg/ Phoenix to nine playoff berths in his 15 seasons with the franchise.
Numminen, a native of Tampere, Finland, enjoyed the best offensive output of his NHL career in the 1995-96 season with the Jets, scoring 11 goals and 43 assists for a personal best 54 points. From 2001-03, Numminen served as the second captain in Coyotes history, taking over the reins from Keith Tkachuk.
In July of 2003, Numminen was traded to the Dallas Stars where he spent the 2003-04 season and helped lead the Stars to the playoffs. Following his lone season in Dallas, Numminen signed with Buffalo in August of 2005. In each of his first two seasons with the Sabres, Numminen enjoyed long playoff runs with the club as they reached the Eastern Conference Finals. He was also a key contributing member of the 2006-07 Sabres team that won the Presidents Trophy.
Following open heart surgery in September of 2007, Numminen courageously returned to the Sabres lineup for the final game of the 2007-08 season. In 2008-09, his last season in the NHL, Numminen scored 17 points in 57 games. The durable defenseman averaged over 22 minutes of ice-time in his career, and 13 times in his 20 seasons he played in at least 70 games.
Teppo was the consummate professional who was universally respected by teammates and opponents alike - a superb talent who delivered his skills with quiet tenacity and remarkable consistency over the course of his entire career.
Along with a successful NHL career, Numminen enjoyed an extensive amount of international hockey experience. He represented Finland in four Olympics (1988, 1998, 2002, 2006), the World Junior Championships (1988), five World Championships (1987, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997) and two World Cups of Hockey (1996, 2004). Numminen accumulated six medals in total in his international hockey career with Finland, earning silver medals in the 2006 and 1988 Olympics, 2004 World Cup of Hockey and 1994 World Championships, to go along with bronze medals in the 1998 Olympics and 1988 World Junior Championships.
“I’m certainly going to miss playing the game. I appreciate everything the game has given me, and I now look forward to spending more time with my family,”said Numminen.
Teppo and his wife Ann-Maarit will reside in Clarence Center (Buffalo), NY with their three children.