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The silver stick at Parise's 1,000 games celebration ... wasn't his

Wild forward needed a stand-in stick for pre-game ceremony on Feb.15

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

Wild forward Zach Parise became the 347th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 games on Feb. 7. 

A week later, the Wild honored him with a pre-game ceremony complete with all the normal trappings of a 1,000th-game celebration: flowers for the women in his life, a present for his son, Jaxson, a charitable donation in his name, and of course, the presentation of the traditional silver stick.

Parise says he doesn't have a man cave or a trophy room at his house, but someday, when his playing career is done, he'll probably take the memorabilia he's collected over more than a decade in the NHL and create some sort of display for it. 

Within that display, the photo of Wild GM Bill Guerin handing him the silver stick from Feb. 15 will probably be right next to the trophy itself. 

Believe it or not, however, the stick in the photo is not the same as the one that will be displayed on the wall. 

The 32-pound stick in the photo with a beaming Parise and Guerin actually belongs to Wild defenseman Ryan Suter.

Check it out:

Take a look at the shaft of that stick. Is that a ... Nashville Predators logo?

And when you zoom onto the blade of the stick?

As it turns out, Parise's stick, on its way to Minnesota from its maker, The Heritage Stick Company in Newmarket, Ontario, actually got hung up at customs in Toronto. It was, according to Wild public relations director Aaron Sickman -- who is one of the very first team employees -- the first time in eight silver stick orders he's worked with, that one had been held up at the border.

"Sickman told me about a week before, 'hopefully it gets here, because it's not here yet,'" Parise said. "I didn't really think much about it, then on the morning of, Sicky told me that it wasn't there."

With no silver stick for Parise, Sickman immediately sent a text to Suter and forward Eric Staal, two of the three current members of the 1,000-game club on the Wild's roster. 

Staal's was on display back home in Thunder Bay, Ontario and very much unreachable on short notice. But luckily, Suter's was still at his in-season home in Edina. He threw it in the trunk for the journey to Xcel Energy Center that afternoon, where it was used in the ceremony a few hours later. 

Had it been back at his offseason home in Madison, Wisconsin? 

"I don't know what they would have done. That would have been embarrassing though, right?" said a howling Parise.

"We never really got that far," Sickman said about what he would have done without a stand-in stick. "I guess we would have been one prop short for the celebration that night."

Parise certainly harbors no ill-will about the snafu. And within a couple of days, Parise's silver stick finally arrived. It, along with the 1,000 games crystal he received from Wild Executive Advisor Mike Modano, have been on display in Jaxson's room ever since. 

"He wanted it in there, so I just gave it to him for now," Parise said. "It's just sitting against his wall. I haven't even thought about where I'm gonna put it or where I'm gonna hang it."


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