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Down on the Farm: Iowa's campaign cut short after AHL cancels season

Anas, Mayhew take home league-wide awards as historic season is ended amid pandemic

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

When Tim Army walked out of the Iowa Wild locker room six weeks ago, the team's head coach still hoped the season or at least the American Hockey League playoffs would still be played. 

"Everyone was gone and the clubhouse was empty," Army said. "I walked out of the locker room and looked out onto the rink. It was quiet and dark." 

As Army stood looking at an empty Wells Fargo Arena, the enormity of what a rotten thing could happen hit him like a Mike Liambas check.

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Down on the Farm: Iowa's season halted suddenly after lengthy road trip

Players learned of NBA's pause while on the bus back to Des Moines from Grand Rapids, Michigan

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

When the NHL hit the pause button on the season last month, it was especially difficult for the Minnesota Wild, which was playing some of its best hockey of the season and appeared poised to make a serious push for the postseason down the stretch.

That may yet happen. 

But hitting pause had a trickle down effect as well.

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Down on the Farm: Winning culture takes root in Iowa

One year after making the playoffs for the first time, the Iowa Wild is in the mix for its first-ever Central Division title

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

There is a different feeling around the Iowa Wild this season.

Sure, that comes with a solid second-place standing in the AHL's Central Division race, but it also comes with the territory. 

For the first time since the franchise moved to Iowa from Houston, the AHL's Wild made the Calder Cup Playoffs last spring, not only reaching the postseason, but advancing to the second round, where it would lose in six games to the eventual Western Conference champion Chicago Wolves.

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AHL All-Star Anas patiently bides his time in Iowa

Forward on pace for his best professional season to date

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In a matter of minutes, Sam Anas' plans for the AHL All-Star break needed to be changed on the fly.

After planning to head south to Florida for a visit with an uncle and some much needed R&R on the beaches of Naples, Anas and his girlfriend, Grace, instead headed west -- to Ontario, California -- after he was named as a fill-in for the Central Division team at the All-Star Classic. 

"Had to call him and deliver some bittersweet news," Anas said with a smile.

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Down on the Farm: Undrafted Mayhew, Menell form All-Star core in Iowa

Each player has debuted in the NHL this season but have been major difference makers for AHL club

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- When Gerry Mayhew and Brennan Menell arrived to play for the Iowa Wild for the 2017-18 season, the two of them already had a lot in common.

Undrafted, the two rookies spent much of the time in their early hockey development dealing with the same skepticism about their future. Too small and not fast enough is how Mayhew described the "blah, blah, blah" he heard almost from the beginning of his career.

But now Mayhew and Menell have something else in common. They are AHL All-Stars, representing Iowa on Jan. 27 in Ontario, California in the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic. 

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Down on the Farm: Opportunity knocked, and Register answered

Well-travelled veteran defenseman has taken advantage of injuries, call-ups in Iowa

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- Matt Register had an inkling that the place for him to be this season was with the Iowa Wild organization.

"I really didn't have another option, but I also always had a lot of respect for the organization and the people who are in it," the Alberta native said. "I also liked how they didn't beat around the bush when we talked. I've always appreciated that."

Register, a 30-year-old defenseman now in his ninth season of minor-league hockey, is on his second professional tryout contract with the Wild. The Wild extended the contract recently as a result of Register's solid play in 16 games that came at a time when the Wild's depth along the blueline thinned considerably.

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Down on the Farm: Iowa working through mini-slump, injuries and call-ups

AHL club has had plenty of moving parts through the first two months of the season

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- When a team hits an icy patch for a while in the American Hockey League, it usually follows a certain recipe: injuries and call-ups combined with a long, tiring road trip.

When the Iowa Wild arrived in Des Moines very early Saturday morning, the team had just traveled a couple thousand miles by airplane and bus over 14 days, dealt with the call-ups of three of its leading players -- goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen, defenseman Brennan Menell and forward Nico Sturm - and were dealing with a list of injured players that at one point had reached 10 players.

The result of the road trip was a disappointing four losses out of five games followed by a 4-1 home defeat to the Tucson Roadrunners, who is in solid command of first place in the Pacific Division.

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'Minnesota guys' hope Iowa run helps make transition permanent

As AHL affiliate's playoff run ends, Greenway, Kunin and Donato soak up as much postseason experience as possible

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- He won't tell you, but Jordan Greenway is exhausted. 

After playing in 81 games with Minnesota during the regular season, Greenway played in three regular season games with Iowa then jumped into an 11-game playoff run that concluded Monday night with a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena.

In all, Greenway played in 97 hockey games since the beginning of October. If you count the preseason and two games at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament on the eve training camp, Greenway has more than doubled his previous career high in games played during the season.

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After emotional reunion, Prosser family will welcome a new addition

Defenseman has been away from his family for nearly two months, but the group will welcome another girl Saturday

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

DES MOINES -- Nate Prosser's career in pro hockey has been anything but easy. The definition of perseverance and sheer effort, Prosser has carved out an impressive -- and perhaps a bit unexpected -- life in the sport.

He's never been the fastest player, the most-skilled player or even the most talented player on any of his pro teams. But you won't find a better teammate or human being. It's what has made him invaluable to the Wild, both at the NHL and AHL levels, during his career.

In the decade since turning pro following a standout run at Colorado College, the Elk River native has been in and out of the lineup and has been signed by a different team twice only to be claimed back by the Wild both times shortly thereafter. This season, he was sent down to the American Hockey League for the first time in eight years. 

 

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Mayhew's well-earned NHL contract came the hard way

Iowa forward scored a franchise record 27 goals during the regular season and has gotten better during the playoffs

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

DES MOINES -- #GerryTime could soon be headed to a NHL rink near you.  

The Wild signed Iowa forward Gerry Mayhew to a two-year, two-way contract, a deal that will allow the one-time Ferris State Bulldog to compete for a job in the NHL next season.

"I'm very excited," Mayhew said on Friday. "I may not show it right now, but I'm very excited. I can't wait to see what's in store for the future, I'm gonna work my hardest to get there and hopefully stick."

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