Playing four years of college hockey at Minnesota State, Zach Palmquist got a chance to compete on the Xcel Energy Center ice during the North Star Cup.
"But obviously every time you step out on the ice it's a special moment," Palmquist said.
Now his time spent in the Minnesota Wild's home arena is a little different. Palmquist signed with the Wild after his senior season concluded earlier this year. He played eight games in Iowa, and is participating in his first NHL training camp this week.
"Coming in as a first-year player, I'm just coming in and trying to learn as much as I can from the older guys, and guys that have been here from the past," Palmquist said. "I think it will be good for me to keep improving my game by just shutting my mouth and listening to others."
Everything is coming full-circle for Palmquist, who grew up in South Saint Paul.
"Living, growing up 10 minutes away from the Xcel, I've been going to games here since I was 10 years old," he said. "It's an incredible feeling, and being able to put on that Wild practice jersey this summer has been incredible. To be here and around the locker room with all those Minnesota guys is really awesome."
Palmquist was part of the group of rookies who traveled to Traverse City, Mich. for the NHL Prospects Tournament.
"It really taught me a lot about my game there, too; those guys are good," Palmquist said. "It's a rookie tournament, but from here on out you know you have to raise your game at a higher level each and every time you step out on the ice. I learned a lot of valuable lessons there."
With four years of college experience under his belt, Palmquist said Minnesota State got him to where he is today.
"The competition was always strong, each and every weekend," he said. "Playing against guys who were maybe a bit older than in major juniors I think is maybe going to help me out in the long run. But this is a whole different level, and I'm going to have to be ready for anything."
As for his game, Palmquist said he thinks he still has room to improve in his own zone.
"I've really learned a lot through college, but that's a part of my game I can still step up," he said. "Just have good sticks, and really be good in all areas of my zone."Related Items: