Teemu Selanne's farewell tour during the 2013-14 season was bittersweet to say the least. Watching the Finnish Flash ride off into the sunset with standing ovations around the league and an emotional last home game in Anaheim was a fitting end to a brilliant NHL career.
But like the last few years, Selanne may be waffling on retirement. It's not to come back to the NHL, though.
Selanne told Sports.ru that he is considering an offer from Jokerit Helsinki, which will play its inaugural season in the KHL next season after moving over from the Finnish SM-Liiga.
"Of course, it would be nice to go back on the ice again,” Selanne said (translated via Puck Daddy). “But it's not all so simple. In the next three weeks I will make a decision.”
Finnish NHL writer Juha Hiitelä said he believes Selanne will come back for one more year to play for the club he grew up with. Hiitelä also noted that if Selanne does come back, it will be in a limited role.
I've said for a long time that Selänne will be back for another year. If it's in KHL with Jokerit, don't expect him to play many road games.— Juha Hiitelä (@jhiitela) July 30, 2014
Before coming to the NHL, Jokerit was the only club Selanne knew (aside from a brief loan to another club). He came up through Jokerit's system and cut his teeth professionally with the club before joining the Winnipeg Jets in 1992. He put up 151 points in 117 professional games with Jokerit.
The 44-year-old had 27 points in 64 games last year with the Anaheim Ducks. Over his career, Selanne posted 1,457 points over 1,451 career games in the NHL.
Selanne playing one more year with his home club has long been believed to be a strong possibility. Though it might be tough for NHL fans to watch Selanne finish out his career officially in the KHL, it's pretty easy to understand why Selanne would do it.
After representing Finland so many times on the international stage, going back for one more pro season for his fellow countrymen to watch him on home ice seems like a nice way to exit the game for good for one of the most successful European hockey players in history.
As Selanne notes, this is a challenging decision on a number of fronts. He had mentioned upon retirement that he wanted to help the game grow in California and he has three sons to keep track of, too. Selanne is even helping coach some of their teams. Moving back to Finland with those plans may be tough, but Selanne has had chances to walk away before and simply couldn't.
It sounds like all will be known in three weeks, but perhaps he haven't seen the last of the Finnish Flash after all.