It was a common sight on Wednesday night: Someone would walk up to Ryan Suter
, look him in the eyes, and thank him for organizing the event.
Ryan and wife Becky in conjunction with the Ronald McDonald House hosted a "Skate With the Stars" event Wednesday at the Xcel Energy, a fundraiser for the charity.
All the proceeds, of which $50,000 was raised between ticket sales and silent auction, went to the Ronald McDonald House.
"It was a great turnout, a great cause, and we raised a lot of money for an amazing thing that Ronald McDonald House does," Ryan said.
Beky sits on the board for the charity, which, according to its website, "provide a comfortable and caring home-away-from-home that supports keeping families together and reduces stress during a child’s serious illness."
"Any time you can help kids, and help families that are dealing with going through tough times, it's important," Ryan said. Now that we have three kids of our own, it really hits home. It's an amazing thing that they do, and were just really happy that we could help out."
Those who purchased tickets got a chance to take the ice and skate with the eight Wild players in attendance: forwards Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, and Thomas Vanek, defensemen Marco Scandella, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, and Suter, and goalie Darcy Kuemper.
"Ryan is a great individual, he's making an impact in the community, and anything we can do to help to make a difference, and you feel good while you're doing it, too," Scandella said.
Jill Evenocheck, the CEO and President of Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest, said Wednesday's event helped her charity in a number of ways.
"Going out, shaking hands; there are people here who may not have heard of our organization before," Evenocheck said. "Now because of the opportunity to have this priceless experience of meeting firsthand with the Wild hockey players, they will be able to get to know us. Perhaps some day, they may need to use our services, and now they know we're here."
Suter said a lot of his interactions from Wednesday stand out in his head, and the conversations he had were the most special.
"There were a lot of families that just recently used the house, or are going to use the house soon," Suter said. "There was a family coming up for tests I think today or tomorrow. You hear those stories and your heart just hurts thinking about them, but hopefully they get through it and it makes them better people."