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Our Ice: From watching Gump to driving All-Stars around the Twin Cities

Wild fan Winthrop Rockwell's early days on Manor Park Pond in Shorewood led to a life of diehard hockey fandom

by Emily Yang /

Throughout the 2018-19 season, will chronicle stories of those whose water is used to help create the ice at Xcel Energy Center. Fans can bring their water -- along with what it means to them -- to any home game, or submit it via mail, and have it added to the Wild's home sheet.

Before ever stepping on to an ice rink, Winthrop (Win) Rockwell learned how to skate on ponds. 

The first memory he has of skating is in the mid-1960s when he was about five years old out on Manor Park Pond in Shorewood.

"Back then, there were no skate trainers," said Rockwell. "My parents brought me out (on the pond) and I learned how to skate by using a wooden chair."

Rockwell learned how to play hockey in Minnetonka, near where he grew up in Glen Lake.

"A classmate of mine suggested I try [hockey] out," Rockwell recalls. "There was a community opening, so I decided to try, and I've loved the game ever since. My son plays now." 

Like many State of Hockey natives, Rockwell is a fan of both the Minnesota North Stars and the Wild. His all-time favorite players? North Stars goaltender Gump Worsley, Wild netminder Alex Stalock and current Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon. 

"I played goalie," chuckled Rockwell. "I can appreciate goalies with unique styles and, of course, defensemen that are incredible at blocking shots."

Not only does Rockwell enjoy hockey during his personal time, but sometimes it's even involved in his professional life.

[RELATED: Join the Wild's Our Ice tradition]

As a professional driver, Rockwell is extremely knowledgeable about the Twin Cities. In 2004, he got an opportunity of a lifetime when the NHL All-Star Game came to Xcel Energy Center. 

From players to coaches and even team management, Rockwell chauffeured stars around the metro in the State of Hockey during their weekend-long stay.

"I definitely felt confident, because I'm obviously very familiar with the Twin Cities," said Rockwell. "Everyone was great. It's an experience I will never forget."  

Rockwell and his wife, Shawn, made a special in-game contribution from Manor Park Lake to the home sheet at Xcel Energy Center on March 16.

"Bringing my water here is more than being a lover of the game," Rockwell said. "It's a way I can contribute to the sport, the team and the arena I love."

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