It was the perfect touch in a ceremony illuminated by many poignant moments, an afternoon of joy and laughter and more than a few suspiciously moist eyes.
"Thank you for everything, what you guys have done for me and for making this night so special for me," he told an adoring crowd that broke into chants of "Tee-mu" and a chorus of "one more year" before his jersey became the first to be retired by the club.
"This whole journey has been unbelievable. I am so thankful and lucky to have experienced all this."
In 21 seasons in the
"Don was such a huge part of my success and my life," Selanne said of Baizley, who died of cancer in 2013. "And I was really hoping that he would be here tonight. And he was somewhere here."
Selanne had earned his solo in the spotlight Sunday but insisted on sharing it, as he had so often shared his time and energy throughout his playing career. Fans saw him sign autographs for hours after games. They didn't always know how much he gave beyond that.
"We don't need statistics to confirm that Teemu has led our team in hospital visits, school visits," Ducks owner Henry Samueli said during the 90-minute ceremony. "Teemu's star shines even better in his off-ice activities, and no record book exists for that….We salute you, we thank you, we love you."
It says a lot, too, that those summoned to the microphone Sunday spoke not only of Selanne as a player but as a leader and person. Commissioner
"I would get booed to be with Teemu anytime," he said. "I have no doubt that hockey in Southern California wouldn't be where it is today without Teemu Selanne."
"You couldn't think of anybody else being first," Giguere said of Selanne's jersey hanging alone in the rafters, at least for now.
Selanne's idol, Hall of Fame winger Jari Kurri, called six-time Olympian Selanne "the greatest ambassador of hockey in Finland." Kurri added, "Enjoy your retirement. I hope you will be back involved in hockey in some way, soon."
Selanne called the ceremony "a perfect package," and it was. It brought back
"That's my next challenge, to try and get him back in hockey," Selanne said. "I think right now he doesn't want to be a part of it, and I respect that."
That didn't detract from the occasion. The
Eventually, Selanne said, he will get involved in hockey again. "But no rush," he said. In the meantime, he can look up and see his banner hanging above the ice he graced so well for so long.
"I hope that people remember me as a guy with a lot of passion and joy," he said, "and every day when I came to the rink, I really enjoyed coming the rink."
That's only part of who he was, but a wonderful part, no question.