ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild, in partnership with Minnesota Hockey and FOX Sports North, announced today that Bob Naegele, Jr. is the recipient of the 2017-18 State of Hockey Legacy Award. The Wild will honor Naegele with the State of Hockey Legacy Award in a pre-game ceremony tomorrow, Thursday, March 29, when the team hosts the Dallas Stars at 7 p.m. CT on NBCSN and KFAN 100.3 FM.
"It's an honor to recognize a man that was instrumental in returning the NHL back to Minnesota in 1997," said Wild owner Craig Leipold. "Bob's dream of bringing the NHL to Saint Paul proved to be a great one thanks to the tremendous support the Wild has received from fans throughout the State of Hockey since its inception."
Robert O. Naegele, Jr. is a born and bred Minnesotan and was goalkeeper for his Minnetonka High School hockey team. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1961 and has been married to his wife, Ellis, for 57 years, raising three daughters and a son together. While the Naegeles have lived in Naples, Florida since 1994, they spend time in Minnesota enjoying their 10 grandchildren and cheering for the Wild.
Naegele became the lead investor of an informal association of hockey enthusiasts whose dream was to see the return of NHL hockey to Minnesota. This group, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (MSE), helped Minnesota hockey fans realize an impossible dream: on June 25, 1997, the NHL announced that Saint Paul was awarded an expansion franchise.
The Minnesota Wild began competing in the 2000-01 season in the new Xcel Energy Center. He served as Chairman of MSE and was the majority owner of the Minnesota Wild until Leipold's purchase of the team and its related entities was approved by the NHL's Board of Governors on April 10, 2008.
The State of Hockey Legacy Award, presented by the Wild, Minnesota Hockey and FOX Sports North, recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary and long-term contributions to hockey in Minnesota. Past recipients are Walter L. Bush, Jr. (2016), Bob O'Connor (2015), Lou Nanne (2014), Glen Sonmor (2012), Neal Broten (2011) and Lou Cotroneo (2010).