Teemu Selänne of the Anaheim Ducks: The Story Behind the OC Weekly People Issue Story

Categories: OC Media, Sports
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"Tay-mu."

With that answer to how you pronounce his first name, future NHL Hall of Famer Teemu Selänne proved to me that ESPN SportsCenter anchors do not know everything as for years I've aped their sounding out "Teeee-moo."

The Anaheim Ducks alternate captain threw down that knowledge when asked by photographer John Gilhooley, who shot today's inaugural OC Weekly OC People 2013 photos of the skater not in a studio but against backdrops deep in the bowels of the Honda Center.

Gilhooley, as the photographer, and yours truly, as the profile writer, were working on tight schedules, in small part because we did not even know we were doing a special peeps Issue until a few weeks before and in larger part because of the NHL lockout.

Up With OC People! OC Weekly's first People Issue!

We'd dangled before the Anaheim Ducks our desire to include Selänne on the cover of our first-ever people issue, and at least the arena/franchise's media liaison Lauren O'Gorman seemed truly excited by that prospect. She worked like a trooper to accommodate the schedules of everyone involved, something that was complicated by a shortened season spurred by that damn lockout.

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Photo by John Gilhooley/
OC Weekly
Future NHL Hall of Famer and busy guy Teemu Selänne
This was first evident late morning/early afternoon Feb. 1, the day I interviewed Selänne. I was to be granted my audience in between practice at the Honda Center and a post-practice physical therapy session nearby for the league's oldest skater (at 42). And sandwiched between that was a shower and the signing of memorabilia for charity--to be clear, by the hockey player, not me.

Under the current contract between the players and the league, teams must tightly control non-game/non-practice time, which is why so much was being done at once at the Honda Center. Under normal circumstances, O'Gorman explained, something like autographing memorabilia would be done on an otherwise off-day while they players were in town. This season, everything is squished together like a panini, including my promised 15 minutes with Selänne in the gooey center. 

Because of the tight schedule, I would not arrive late lest it cut into my allotted minutes. As a result of leaving early and somehow encountering no Orange County freeway traffic, I got there early enough to watch practice from any seat in the Honda Center.

At what I figured to be about the halfway point, some of the generally much-younger guys looked more winded than my interview subject.

"Over here, boys," Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau barked out before soon being surrounded by players in different color jerseys to designate defenders or those on individual scoring lines, including the last active NHL player drafted in the 1980s, in his gray top with black trim. He crouched with one knee on the ice, front and center, to intently follow his leader scratching something on a chalkboard.
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