Ducks legend Teemu Selanne stars at premier of ‘SEL8NNE’

Teemu Selanne walked through the Edwards Big Newport Theatre, the one that had his name in lights on the marquee.

SEL8NNE, that is.

His father was outside taking photos of the Selanne name in lights. Teemu Selanne walked up the stairs and peered his head through a window overlooking the big screen auditorium where the new documentary — the one he stars in — was about to premier.

Most patrons were wearing No. 8 Selanne jerseys from his stops in Anaheim, Colorado, Winnipeg and more.

Selanne wasn’t sure how people would react to the documentary, nor how even he would react since he had yet to see the film that took a year to make.

When he walked in the theatre from the back all the way down the aisle, moviegoers gave him a standing ovation as he headed for the stage. Selanne — always loved and adored by Ducks fans and the NHL in general — told patrons he was nervous.

"I didn’t know what to expect," Selanne said. "The first couple of years the movie people kept asking to do something like this and I kept saying, ‘No, I don’t want to do it.’ But then I started thinking it’s something I can leave behind for my kids and their kids one day. It’s like a little history piece kind of.

"Of course, I can’t stop (thinking about) how well the people and the fans have treated me and how interested they are about my life."

Selanne had friends and family in attendance Thursday and said about 60 people from his native Finland are here this week. This was one of many events honoring Selanne, who will have his No. 8 jersey retired before Sunday’s Ducks game (starting at 4:30 p.m. on Prime Ticket). All proceeds from Thursday’s event went to charity.

The documentary — directed by JP Siili — was a hit in Finland, but the original plan didn’t have showings in the U.S as the documentary had subtitles.

The documentary was more than just Selanne’s hockey career, although there was much wonderful footage of his early junior hockey years all the way through his professional career.

His love of his parents, wife and four children as well as a big circle of friends was evident. His interest in giving back to the community and always signing autographs was duly noted. The documentary also delved into other issues like his parents’ divorce, older brother’s drug use and family time spent aiding Selanne’s hockey career.

It’s clear some things were probably tough to watch. Asked what he thought about it immediately after it ended, Selanne said to fans: "I hope you didn’t believe everything. But I liked it."

After the movie, fans were treated to a question-and-answer session with Selanne.

In a sweet moment, Selanne’s young daughter, Veera, asked: "Why did you come to America?" He replied: "To play hockey and raise you."

One asked what his plan is, and Selanne said he’s enjoying retirement and not having a schedule, spending time with his family, playing golf and such. 

One man asked if he served military time, and Selanne said that he was in the military reserves for 11 months while also going to school and playing hockey. Selanne said his military nickname was "Finnish Rambo."

One fan said she put her movie ticket on her wall and not the bulletin board where such things go because the Selanne event deserved a special place. She asked Selanne to give her husband another the ticket should be on the wall. Selanne asked for the audience’s help before settling on this: "As long as it’s not in the bedroom, you’re fine."

Asked if he was disappointed he didn’t surpass 700 goals in his career, Selanne said: "No, not really. But I was really happy I scored over 600."

Since Selanne is the first Ducks player that will have his jersey retired, one fan asked who he thinks the next player should be to have his jersey hanging from the Honda Center.

Selanne said his good friend Paul Kariya and Jean-Sebastien Giguere. 

He talked about the 2007 Stanley Cup championship and how he was so happy to have that happen in Anaheim.

"Obviously this is a happy place for us," Selanne said. "This place means so much for me."

Imagine what it will be like on Sunday when his No. 8 jersey is raised to the rafters.