By Chris Kober, Anaheim Calling
So, you want to know why you should root for the Anaheim Ducks, eh?
Some people would have you believe that the Ducks are just a roaming band of douchebags. While that's not entirely untrue, these are the same people who currently support this man (at least our douchebags have talent). But more importantly, the Ducks have one thing that makes up for all the douchebaggery in the world. Teemu Selanne.
"The Finnish Flash" is the oldest player in the league at age 42 and for my money he's one of the greatest human beings to ever walk the face of the Earth. His on ice accomplishments are almost to numerous to mention, but here's a taste.
He scored a record 76 goals and 132 points in his rookie season with the original Winnipeg Jets (and celebrated breaking Mike Bossy's record like this). After a few years in Winnipeg he was traded to Anaheim and along with Paul Kariya became one of the most dynamic goal scorers in an era of very little offense, winning a goal scoring title in 1998.
Sadly he was traded away in 2001 and suffered some of the worst years of his career during his hockey rumschpringe, largely due to knee injuries. But one of the only good things to come from the fully cancelled 2004-05 season was that Teemu was able to have surgery and fully recover physically and mentally. His return to full strength and his "Happy Place" has made him the Ducks' franchise leader in every significant offensive category and won him a Stanley Cup in 2007. Since then he's contemplated retirement and returned each summer, only to match numbers set by "Mr. Hockey" himself, Gordie Howe.
Of course Teemu's been fantastic at hockey for the better part of two decades, much like our hated rivals in the first round of the playoffs, but he's so much more than that.
Lots of players are charitable, but how many of them personally remember and follow up with children they meet in the hospital? This is a man who delivers on an outlandish promise to score a hat trick for a friend with cancer. He once flew a group of 16 childhood buddies from Finland to California to make good on a guarantee that they would be invited if he ever made the Stanley Cup Final. Hell, he even paid for their beer! And that was no small bill, if the rumors are to be believed.
His hockey skills and kind, generous, joyous personality aren't enough for you? How about these other awesome facts? He was once the face of a Star Wars video game in his native Finland. In his early NHL years he raced cars back in Finland under the pseudonym "Teddy Flash." Hewears humorous and rather inappropriate clothing. He ice skates through the streets on magical puddles of milk with Finnish children. For Gretzky's sake, even Ryan Lambert likes him!
In conclusion, Batman might be the hero we deserve, but Teemu is the one we need ... and have. He's chosen Anaheim time and time again, so why don't you, dear undecided reader; join him on this lovely, spacious bandwagon.
(Note: I also wanted to write about how the Red Wings have tortured my soul over the years and that you should get behind the Ducks simply because they're the first line of defense against the Red Menace, but all that stuff about Teemu got me in too good of a mood. Still, F*** Detroit!)