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Stadium Series

Dubnyk soaks in atmosphere at family skate

Stadium Series brings back memories for Wild goalie

by Devan Dubnyk / Special to NHL.com

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, the likely starting goalie for the Minnesota Wild in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports), is keeping a diary of his experiences this weekend. This his first installment, which focuses on the family skate that took place Friday evening, less than 24 hours after the Wild returned home from a 5-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers.

Today was a great day to spend with the family skating at TCF Bank Stadium. 

I had my son Nate with me, he's 2 1/2 years old. I also have a son, Parker, who is two months old, but he is at home with my wife. It's a little tough to get everyone down here; Parker is a little too young for that. But even just to come down here and get to experience everything for the first time; the locker room and walking out into the stadium, it's pretty awesome. Nate had a blast out there. You try to take as many pictures as you can to remember it by. It felt like it went by in about 10 minutes. 

Tweet from @mnwild: Little Duby skating. #StadiumSeries pic.twitter.com/T6eOE8XN2h

This is Nate's third time skating and he is still learning, but he's starting to get the hang of it. I need to get him something for him to hang onto because I don't think my back and hamstrings can handle it anymore. He liked it today though. He was chasing after Nordy, the Wild mascot, out there and he was getting his feet going pretty good. 

The Stadium Series for the players is an entire weekend experience that everybody gets to be a part of and you get to enjoy it with your family and all your teammates and their families. It's a really nice feeling, and something other than another hockey game in a series of a lot of hockey games coming up. It's kind of a weekend we can enjoy, and that makes it a lot of fun. 

It's always fun when you see everybody with their families and you see a different side of them. You get to see these guys every day at the rink, but everybody knows how important family is and how busy you get and how important your kids are, so it's great to see everybody that is important to each guy and you get to know each guy a little bit more. It's great to see everyone having so much fun out there. 

It also brings back so many memories of skating outdoors when I was younger in Calgary. My dad used to build us a rink in the backyard, starting when we were 10 years old and continuing all the way up until I left for junior hockey. We used to play outside every day after school in Calgary, and the rink kind of evolved each year as my dad found new ways to make it better. It was cool. It went without saying that my friends were going to be there every day after school.
 
All of those memories were there when I was out on the ice today. It's just the fresh air and almost the quietness of the outdoors. There's something special about that, and that is why everyone loves to go skating on outdoor rinks. The weather was just perfect this afternoon, so if it is that way for the game on Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Blackhawks it would be pretty awesome. If it can be anything like that for the game, it would be pretty special. 

But today it was important just to soak it all in and enjoy it with the family and get everything that we need to do out of the way so tomorrow we can start to focus on the game against the Blackhawks because it is two points that we need on Sunday. As cool as it is, and as cool as it is going to be on Sunday, we need a win. 

Tomorrow in practice, I will have some things to work on because playing outdoors is different than playing in an arena like we usually do. For my angles, I'm always looking at spots on the ice, so that won't change. It's just the visuals of looking up and looking past the glass and what you see beyond the glass as well as the lighting from the daylight rather than artificial light. Those are all things that you want to take in and get as used to as you can so Sunday will be as seamless as possible. 

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