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Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine speaks about his special connection with young hockey fans

Patrik Laine speaks about his connection to young fans.

Jets winger Patrik Laine, who is back home in Finland, had a chat with Sportsnet’s Sean Reynolds during the pause in the NHL season.  One of the questions Sean asked was about the special connection that Laine seems to have with young fans.  Whether it is tossing a puck during pre-game warm up skate, a surprise attendance at a youth practice or playing Papers/Rocks/Scissors for his hockey stick it is clear the Finnish phenom enjoys his interactions with his young fans in Winnipeg.

Laine gives kid a puck

Photo Credit: Colby Spence

I thought his answer to Sean reflected a person who doesn’t take himself too seriously and hasn’t forgotten what it was like himself to be a young fan looking up to a hockey player.

“I love kids. It’s awesome to sign autographs, to do those like where we go surprise kids in their practice. I like that kind of stuff. There’s gonna be days when I’m retired and nobody cares about me anymore and nobody wants pictures, so just try to enjoy it now. I was a kid too and if I was able to get an autograph with a Finnish league player or a picture it was so huge for me. I want to give that feeling to kids. It doesn’t take much for me to sign an autograph or take a picture with them but they’re going to remember it forever.”

Patrik Laine signing autograph

Photo Credit: Colby Spence

Of course his countryman and former Jets 1.0 star Teemu Selanne last played pro hockey six years ago and I’m fairly certain he still is asked for autographs and photos with fans so I’m not sure retirement for Laine will end those types of requests.  But that isn’t something the talented winger is going to have to consider for quite some time.