Let me start out by telling you what an honor it is to join this team. In just eight years, you, the fans, have built one of the premier franchises in all of sports. The traditions you’ve created, the passion you bring and the excitement that fills this arena are by far the best in the NHL. And that is exactly what brought me here.
Those are the things that made the Wild the only franchise I considered when getting back into the NHL. And I pledge to do my part to keep making this team even better. Because as great as you make the atmosphere off the ice, it is my duty to make the team on the ice the very best it can be. I believe in the system that Doug Risebrough and his hockey staff have built here, and I support them 100 %. My goal is winning; not to tinker with success. I just want to give them the tools they need to carry out their plan as best they can.
No one appreciates the concept of “TEAM” more than I do. So I believe that new teammates should never change the core of what makes an established team successful-they should only add to it. And that is my promise to you, The Team of 18,000, and the entire State of Hockey. I will do everything in my power to build off of the success you have already created and take this team even further.
Bob Naegele, who did an amazing job of putting the building blocks in place here, told me something I will never forget. He said that the fans are the true owners of this team. I agree. This season, you’ve helped us to our first-ever Northwest Division title, and I humbly ask you to join me for the great things still to come.
Now, we’re beginning the Stanley Cup playoffs; one of 16 teams with a shot at a championship. I look forward to seeing you at each and every game. And I make no secret of hoping, one day soon, that I’ll see you at the parade the State of Hockey so richly deserves, and the Stanley Cup finally comes to where it belongs.