It was an idea three years in the making. Now, with the ribbon cut on the official Grand Opening, the State of Hockey has its own official restaurant — the Minnesota Wild at Terminal 2 of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
With millions of travelers making their way through Terminal 2 each year, they’ll get a taste of the Minnesota Wild, even if they can’t make it down to Xcel Energy Center.
“Our goal every day, our corporate mission is to create a greater State of Hockey,” Wild CEO Matt Majka said. “This is going to help us achieve that goal.”
Walking through the terminal, the restaurant is hard to miss. A large, brightly lit Wild logo welcomes travelers into the space. TV’s with different sports and replays of Wild games adorn the walls so fans won’t miss a moment of action.
But what makes the place truly unique are the consistent allusions to the State of Hockey. The bar is lined with over 1,400 hockey sticks from players throughout Minnesota, collected by Total Hockey. Adjacent to the bar is a puck wall with Minnesota made up in Wild pucks. Throughout the restaurant, the Wild logo is featured in small and in large ways — including a sitting area lined with team sweaters and puck lamps with the Wild logo on the bottom.
“It feels great to be sitting in here with all these State of Hockey designs surrounding us,” Majka said. “A really nice effort by Total Hockey to make this place look even cooler with the hockey sticks. And of course HMS Host put a great effort into the outcome here. We’re really proud to be associated with this. And the food is great, too. It really hit on every potential point.”
When it comes to the food, Majka wasn’t kidding — it’s fantastic. At the official Grand Opening they served many samples all of which hit the spot. From sliders to brats and flatbreads to a pastrami sandwich that warranted seconds, travelers will find a great meal in addition to a uniquely Minnesotan atmosphere. Finally, the fudge brownie is the perfect way to end a meal or briefly indulge on the way to your flight.
The restaurant itself would not have been possible without HMS Host nor the Metropolitan Airport Commission — both of whom were on hand at the Grand Opening. Dennis Probst, the Executive Vice President of the Metropolitan Airport Commission noted that when it comes to a restaurant like The Minnesota Wild, they always look for three things — great partners, great food and Minnesota flavor. A partnership with the Wild organization fit those needs.
Overall, The Minnesota Wild is simply a place people can go to enjoy some great food and a unique atmosphere that’s all about hockey.
“I do really feel like the State of Hockey brand is owned by this community, not the Minnesota Wild,” Majka said. “We’re a part of that brand but it’s really owned by the community and the people of the State of Hockey — the players, the coaches, the parents, the referees. For them to contribute to the look and feel of this place with their used hockey sticks, its perfect for the brand. They own that brand and contribute to the making of this brand and this place.”