Just like his former NHL’er father, Leevi Selänne possesses speed.
Still he will be headed back to California impressed with what he saw at Penticton Vees camp this week.
“It’s way faster than what we are used to,” said Selänne, son of the Finnish Flash, Teemu Selänne, who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks and retired following the 2013-14 NHL season. “These players are older, and faster and make things quicker.”
Selänne, 17, and his Anaheim junior Ducks team, coached by former Vee Tyler Miller, joined the Vees at camp.
“It’s a great experience for me and my team,” he said. “Coming out here and just getting the season started by playing with all of these great players and having a great time with them. Just seeing how they treat themselves and how they play.”
Selänne had to adjust to the fast-paced practices. As the week went on, he felt he got better. On Wednesday, he had his teammates mixed with the Vees to take on the West Kelowna Warriors on the road in exhibition action. Selänne said the tempo was fast and that things improved after the first period. The Vees won 6-3 and were led by Cassidy Bowes’ hat-trick.
During camp Selänne wanted to get better and measure himself to the Vees. He wanted to learn what he needed to do to get to that level as he has a desire to make the jump to the B.C. Hockey League or U.S. Hockey League next season. He sees the junior A route, then college in the National Collegiate Athletic Association as a better fit for him.
The difference he saw in the hockey here compared to home is how talented the players are as well as their skating ability and “brute skill.”
“They are feisty. They go to the net hard and they play a good game,” said Selänne, who is listed at 5-10, 179 pounds on eliteprospects.com.
Selänne describes himself as a hard worker with speed and tries to use that every time he is on the ice, as well as possessing offensive skills. He wants to be an offensive player and continue improving that side of his game. His dad gives him tips, but said he has learned to improve on ice on his own.
“He’s been really big on me for off the ice. How to treat myself, how to prepare for games,” said Selänne. “How to work out and how to be strong.”