In a spirited, yet festive, Minnesota Wild Development Camp 3-on-3 tournament, the gray squad knocked off team black 1-0 on a 2nd half goal by forward Kurtis Gabriel.
“It was just a shot from a high place, and it just squeezed through by the back, passed his glove,” explained Gabriel. “They say good things happen when you go to the net, and that’s what I’m trying to get into my game more, so I was fortunate to get a little bounce there and put it in.”
Goalies were not assigned teams for the tournament, rotating in and out, but Stephen Michalek (Team Gray) and Brody Hoffman (team black) had excellent performances in the final, allowing only the one goal scored between them.
There were five teams of six players and one team of five, with squads wearing color coded jerseys: yellow, green, white, black, red and grey as the likes of Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk played over the PA system giving the empty arena some extra energy for the private event.
“During skates, during practices guys are working and obviously you don’t have that background noise so it’s more of that workman-like mentality for the guys,” said Brad Bombardir, director of player development. “So to be able to throw the music on there I think actually helps settle them down a little bit and realize that it’s supposed to be fun.”
Starting in the early afternoon there were 10 rotating games played, two at a time on one half of the ice, with a winners and losers bracket to set up the final. Each game consisted of two 4-minute halves, with a three-minute break between.
After the final game, Gabriel accepted the trophy for team grey prior to a team picture posing together with the trophy, and then explained the best part of the victory:
“It’s pretty fun. We’re a tight group of guys, especially the Iowa guys, and going against them there were a couple heated battles between friends. It’s all part of the game and it’s fun to rub it in the guys faces a little bit because we’re always joking off the ice a lot.”
The rosters for the teams in the championship were as follows:
Rugged defenseman Alex Gudbranson, as confirmed by his name being on the trophy from last year, becomes the first player to win the 3-on-3-tournament trophy twice.
Back At It Tuesday Night
The 2015 Minnesota Wild Player Development Camp comes to a close on the evening of Tuesday, July 14 with another free scrimmage open to the public at Xcel Energy Center. Gate 1 will open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 scrimmage.
WildTV caught up with 2015 Draft picks, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway and Gustav Bouramman, who admitted to sleep walking in front of his roommate, Alex Gudbranson.
Eriksson Ek also signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild after skating on Monday morning.