The Minnesota Wild had a few specials guests in the stands as the team reconvened for practice at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota Hockey’s Coaching Excellence Award recipients were attending practice before heading over to Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub for the honor’s luncheon. Minnesota Hockey recognized 35 coaches with the distinction and they brought along the people who nominated them and a guest.
The coaches ranged in level and age groups, and were nominated by parents. The award winners demonstrate behaviors provide for a positive athletic experience, allowing players to develop to their greatest potential, have fun and learn to love the game.
“It’s to honor coaches who have made a difference in kids’ lives,” Lighthouse founder and Executive Director of
Minnesota Hockey Glen Andresen said. “These coaches give out so much of their time, family and work time, to come out and work with these kids, so they probably don’t get thanked enough. So, this is a way to recognize them and they seem to enjoy this day.”
After the practice, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo spoke to the group. As someone who knows how much time goes into the craft, Yeo was appreciative of the job they do.
“For me as a hockey parent I wanted to say thank you and as a former player, coaches were a huge part of getting me where I am today,” Yeo said.
The Wild’s bench boss had a question and answer session with his counterparts. “I didn’t open the floor to recommendations,” Yeo joked. “I opened the floor to questions.”
It was a thrill for the coaches to attend, something that wasn’t lost on the former Lighthouse scribe.
“You and I have watched hundreds of Wild practices, so it gets lost on us how cool it can be to folks like this who, are probably not running drills like this, but can still see how they interact with their players,” Andresen said. “You don’t see too many people staring at their phones during this; they are actively watching.”
Suter Sits Out; Cooke Update
Defenseman Ryan Suter felt sick and didn’t practice with the team today. The blueliner didn’t show any of the symptoms that earlier sidelined Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard and Marco Scandella.
Yeo expects that Suter will be able to play tomorrow as the Wild hosts the Montreal Canadiens.
“He’s not too bad, he’s feeling better today than he was yesterday,” Yeo said. “He says he should be okay for tomorrow.”
Forward Matt Cooke skated before the team today. Yeo is hopeful he’ll participate in the team’s morning skate tomorrow.
Kuemper To Start Against Habs
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper will be in goal tomorrow night against the Canadiens. Kuemper made 27 saves in a 4-1 loss in Montreal on Nov. 8.
Tuch On National Team Prelim Roster
Wild 2014 first-round draft pick (18th overall) Alex Tuch has been named to the 2015 U.S. National Team preliminary roster. In all, 30 players have been invited to participate in the National Team camp, with the final roster to be named by Dec. 24. Team USA will compete in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 5, in Montreal and Toronto.
Tuch is in his freshman season at Boston College and is tied for the team lead in scoring with 10 points (5-5=10) in 14 games.