Perhaps the most common place to find a hockey player during the offseason is at the golf course.
Even with training camp in full swing, there's a good chance you might see a few Wild players there this week when the Ryder Cup gets underway at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska.
Like many in the Twin Cities, the Wild dressing room has been buzzing with anticipation for the tournament to begin. While love for one's homeland has been a common theme in many locker rooms around the NHL as the World Cup of Hockey winds down in Toronto, it's the Ryder Cup, featuring players from Team USA facing off with their counterparts from Europe, that will capture the imaginations of Wild players this week.
"Hopefully we get to go to it but I'll definitely be watching it on TV as much as I can," said Wild forward Jordan Schroeder. "I'm a big golf fan, as most guys are on the team. Maybe a few friendly wagers as well."
Schroeder, a Prior Lake native, said having a tournament with the international cachet of the Ryder Cup so close to home is an opportunity to showcase Minnesota.
"It's pretty unbelievable. It might not ever happen again in my lifetime," Schroeder said. "It might be bigger than a Major. It's a different type of game. When it comes to golf, it's more of a team aspect. It's really cool when the countries come together. The rivalry really gets intense."
Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, another avid golfer, has never played Hazeltine but said it's on his bucket list of courses.
Dubnyk, like Schroeder, said he won't miss the tournament and looks forward to watching it when it is played every two years.
"It's such a unique event for golfers," Dubnyk said. "You have a sport that is so individual. It's all about what they do. And you bring in a group of guys like that and turn it into a team event, it's gotta be exciting for them and I think that's why they all love playing it."
Schroeder, who has played Hazeltine several times, said watching the pros hit shots from the same places he has hit them will be fun.
"You know every hole," Schroeder said. "It'll be fun to see the best players in the world out on that stage. I've never played from where the pros play from, but I couldn't even imagine how long that course is right now."
Does Schroeder have any advice for the teams competing this week?
"Keep the ball in the fairway," he said. "I'm sure the rough will be quite long."
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