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Another look at Teemu Selanne's NHL longevity

October 4, 2011 |  4:38 pm

Selanne3 Thomas Steen, apparently, has an even better memory than former teammate Teemu Selanne.

The Ducks’ Selanne chatted with some reporters the other day and told the story about having dinner with Steen and Frederick Olausson during his rookie season. He informed his then Jets teammates that he would play only a couple of seasons in Winnipeg and then resume his playing career in Europe. 

They laughed at him and made a bet that he would be proved wrong. Steen and Olausson were correct, and then some, considering that Selanne is about to start his 20th NHL season. The Ducks begin the regular season Friday in Helsinki.

“I think they forgot too, because they haven’t collected,” Selanne said in the interview.

Not so, according to Steen. 

“Clear as day,” he said, of remembering the dinner, in a telephone interview from Winnipeg on Wednesday. “I was laughing at him because I felt exactly the same way. I know how that it changes in a year and your view broadens. So I knew.... I make a bet.”

Not that he could disclose details of the bet, politely declining.

“I think I remember more than he does,” Steen said, chuckling. “It’ll drive him [Selanne] crazy.” 

Steen, who is a member of Winnipeg’s City Council, is planning to travel to Phoenix for the Jets’ game there on Oct. 15. The Jets, of course, broke the heart of Winnipeggers by moving to Arizona after the 1995-96 season, becoming the Coyotes.

The wait for NHL hockey’s return to Winnipeg has been long, painful and emotional. “Trying not to get my hopes up because I’ve been disappointed so many times,” said Steen.

Steen, who finished his NHL career in Winnipeg in the 1994-95 season, didn’t allow himself to quite believe the league was back until the deal was actually completed. Manitoba’s patience will be rewarded, at least officially, when the Jets open the season at home on Sunday against Montreal. 

“I think it will be better than any Stanley Cup playoff,” Steen said.

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--Lisa Dillman

Photo: Teemu Selanne while playing for the Winnipeg Jets during the 1994-95 season. Credit: Al Bello / Allsport

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