Celebrity Interview: Teemu Selänne

Teemu Selänne. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Find out where Teemu Selänne–newly retired Anaheim Duck and restaurant owner–likes to play in Orange County.

Teemu Selänne–five-time Olympian, assistant captain and right winger for the Anaheim Ducks, one of the highest scoring players in National Hockey League history and at 43, one of its oldest players–recently announced that this, his 21st NHL season, was his last. He lives with his wife, their daughter and three hockey-playing sons in Coto de Caza, in Southern Orange County and shares what he loves about the county most.

Teemu Selänne enjoys golfing and auto racing, has an impressive car collection–he is one of the few people owning an Enzo Ferrari–and heads up the nonprofit Teemu Selänne Youth Sports Foundation. Readers of Finnish fashion magazine Eeva once deemed him Finland’s sexiest man. He recently opened Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach–and it’s a winner too.

What do you miss most about Orange County when you are in Finland?

When visiting Finland, we don’t have the time to miss Orange County as we’re so busy seeing family and friends! But I’m always glad to return for the great weather and terrific beaches.

What do you appreciate most about playing at the Honda Center? How does it compare with other ice hockey venues?

Playing for our fans at the Honda Center is always more energizing than playing on the road. The Canadian ice hockey venues are definitely louder than anywhere else.

Where do you take visitors from Finland?

Our family and friends always want to see as much of Southern California as possible. We take them to Disneyland and Universal Studios, but no visit would be complete without showing them our beautiful beaches! El Moro beach, between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, is an awesome secluded beach in a little cove in Crystal Cove State Park that gets some really great waves. Sometimes, I take my visiting friends to Newport Beach and Huntington Beach–there is so much to see and do in those cities.

Our research turns up no Lord Stanley cut of beef, yet it is Selanne Steak Tavern’s signature cut.

It’s a Wagyu bone-in rib-eye, also called a tomahawk cut. Because the cut that we use is so big, I thought it would be fun to name it after the Stanley Cup–adding a touch of hockey to the menu.

What is your favorite special occasion dining spot other than Selanne?

For special occasions, we typically visit Studio at the Montage Laguna Beach or Splashes at the Surf & Sand Resort, also in Laguna Beach. Anything on the Studio menu is awesome. I love the Splashes location, right on the beach. It’s nice to watch and hear the ocean, and to enjoy an ocean sunset, while enjoying either Alaskan Chinook salmon or the beef tenderloin.

What is your best Orange County memory?

My fondest memory is my first day in Orange County. I had just been traded to the Ducks from Winnipeg, and the weather was simply amazing–somewhere in the 80s. I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

Teemu’s Perfect Day

9 a.m. Golf-view Breakfast
I’d start my perfect day with the lobster scramble at Pelican Grill in Newport Coast followed by a roundof golf at Pelican Hill Golf Club.

Noon. Ocean-view Golf
I’d still be playing my perfect round at Pelican Hill, And since it’s a perfect round, I’d get a hole-in-one on hole No. 12, a tough par 3 of 200-plus yards.

3 p.m. Sunset-view Libation
After my golf round, I’d visit Mosaic at the Montage Laguna Beach for a late beer, a Moscow mule or a nice glass of wine, and to watch the sunset.

6 p.m. Eponymous Dining
Dinner at Selanne Steak Tavern. I’d have our chef’s Pacific diver scallops and the Lord Stanley Cut.  And I’ll eat any dessert there–our pastry chef Heather makes truly incredible desserts.

9 p.m. Surf-side Nightcap
After dinner, I’d cross the street and have an after dinner drink at Surf & Sand and watch and listen to the waves crashing the surf.

Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714.704.2500;
Disneyland, 1313 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, 714.781.4565;
Universal Studios, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, 800. 864.8377;
Crystal Cove State Park, E. Coast Hwy. between Laguna Beach and Corona Del Mar;
Studio, 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 866.271.6953;
Splashes, 1555 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.497.4477;
Pelican Grill, 22701 Pelican Hill Road S., Newport Coast, 949.467.6800;
Pelican Hill Golf Club, 22701 Pelican Hill Road S., Newport Coast, 877.735.4226;
Mosaic, 1 Monarch Beach Resort Drive, Dana Point, 949.234.3318;
Selanne Steak Tavern, 1464 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.715.9881;
Surf & Sand Resort, 1555 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.497.4477

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