Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya

Teemu Selanne, winner of the Stanley Cup and four Olympic medals, authored a record-setting Finnish bestseller, "My Life," which is now available for the first time in English from Triumph Books. This excerpt details how he connected with Paul Kariya after being traded from Winnipeg to Anaheim in 1996.

Paul KarIya was lingering in the Mighty Ducks' dressing room after a morning practice when head coach Ron Wilson came out of his office with a smile on his face that could have lit up a dark hockey arena.

"He called in Oleg Tverdovsky and Chad Kilger and we were all like, what is going on?" Kariya recalled.

He didn't have to wait long for an answer. "I don't remember if it was [general manager] Jack [Ferreira] who came in, but somebody told us that we just got Teemu Selanne."

Teemu Selanne Book Jaws dropped.

"We were all like, 'No way, we got Teemu,'" Kariya said. "We could not believe it, and our minds were blown. Then these guys came out and we knew what happened and it was kind of awkward. What do you say? Do you say we just got Teemu Selanne, one of the best scorers in the NHL?

"I still remember Ron's face."

The trade came less than three weeks after Teemu and Kariya sat next to each other on the Western Conference bench at the All-Star Game in Boston. They were like two kids in a candy store as the player introductions were made.

"We just sat there and when every player came into the ice, we were just, 'Look, there's Brett Hull, can you believe how great a shot he has.' Then there was Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player in the game. We just talked about how great these guys were, and I remember saying here is a guy who scored 76 goals and he is such a fan of the game, and that just stuck with me," Kariya recalled.


Kariya was a fastidious, dedicated athlete, while Teemu was just the opposite.

But opposites attract, and Selanne and Kariya clicked immediately.

"I did not know it was going to happen so soon. We were roommates, and right away in the first practice you could see that this would be awesome. We were so fast," said Selanne. "Playing with him was so easy. We both felt the game the same way. We did everything at high speed and it was the easiest hockey I ever played. It was unique."

"Our playing styles matched perfectly. Speed was biggest, but we were thinking exactly the same way, how we want to play this game. We made each other better with passing and we were very unselfish together. We knew we were going to help each other."

Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya

Kariya finally had someone to play with.

"It was instant chemistry, and we both saw the game the same way. We both played an up-tempo game," added Kariya. "I knew how great a goal scorer he was, but he was underrated as a pass- maker and that was one of the first things I noticed, how well he saw the game.

"He helped me in every facet of my game possible, but he made me a better scorer for sure, seeing how he did things in practice. Teemu would be going on a breakaway, and Ron would say, 'Paul. Watch how he opens his stick like this and the goalie doesn’t know if he is going to go on his backhand or shoot.' Little adjustments like that, I would make to my game just by watching him."

"I taught him about life," Teemu said. "He was used to avoiding fans. Every time we checked into a hotel he wanted to know where the emergency exits were, and he ordered food from room service so that he could be alone. He even had a cook at home. But I made him come out, and I think it opened up his eyes."

Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya

Selanne may have taken his career seriously, but compared with Kariya, he was a mess. Kariya was a perfectionist.

"Every morning at 8:15, he meditated, no matter where we were. And he went to bed at 10:00 pm, wearing wrist supports so that his arms wouldn't get sore," said Teemu, who couldn’t resist the temptation to poke fun at his buddy's habits.

"One night, I put on my shin pads when I was going to bed. Paul was wondering what I was doing, so I told him that I once hurt my knee in my sleep."

When Teemu joined the team, the atmosphere in the dressing room immediately changed. "Before that, guys didn't really laugh in there, but he knows how to loosen things up," said Kariya.

-- Excerpted by permission from My Life by Teemu Selanne With Ari Mennander. Copyright (c) 2019. Published by Triumph Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple Books. Follow Teemu Selanne on Twitter @TeemuSel8nne. Follow Ari Mennander on Twitter @MennanderA.