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Down on the Farm: Leipold checks in on Iowa investment

Now in its fifth year of existence, the Iowa Wild has provided NHL parent club with everything it had hoped it would

by Tom Witosky @ToskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Five years ago, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold and his staff took a chance many thought would backfire.

Looking to locate its American Hockey League franchise somewhere closer to the Twin Cities than Houston, the Wild staff set its sight on Des Moines: a place not known for its hockey fans and one that had problems with a previous AHL franchise. That franchise left town after just four years, leaving behind a community skeptical that AHL hockey could work in in the city.

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Down on the Farm: Malone adapting nicely to life in Des Moines

Veteran of 647 NHL games, Olympic hopeful has already established himself as fan favorite in Iowa

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

DES MOINES, Iowa -- When Ryan Malone began his professional hockey comeback a few months back, he envisioned the likelihood he'd be right where he is right now, playing for the Iowa Wild.

After a few weeks in central Iowa, Malone says he's content.

While the initial reason for returning to pro hockey was to pursue one final Olympic Games, it didn't take long for the competitor in Malone to shine through. After a day or two of believing he was content with a trip to the American Hockey League, Malone decided one final crack at the NHL would be his ultimate goal at training camp.

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Down on the Farm: A Look Back at Iowa's Season

Minnesota's AHL affiliate took several steps forward under first-year coach Derek Lalonde

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Much better, but just not quite good enough.

That's the consensus among Iowa Wild officials, coaches and players in assessing the club's performance as the 2016-17 season ended. A host of club and individual records were shattered by a team that overcame a slow start and the loss of a number of players through trades, call-ups and injury to register the best season record in Iowa's short four-year history.

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Down on the Farm: Former Gopher Adjusts to Pro Hockey

His college career now over, Kloos hopes to help Iowa during postseason push

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- When rookie Justin Kloos arrived here to begin his professional career after four years at the University of Minnesota, he understood what his top priority would be in playing for the Iowa Wild.

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Down on the Farm: Derek Lalonde on Kunin and Stalock

Iowa head coach chats about his newest additions and how he finds ways to motivate them

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers chats with first-year Iowa Wild coach Derek Lalonde about a number of topics, including his first impressions of Luke Kunin, how he communicates with college coaches and his excitement to see Alex Stalock back in the NHL: 

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Down on the Farm: Carter Pushing for Minnesota Return

White Bear Lake native on the comeback trail after labrum surgery nearly ended his career

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- In many ways, Ryan Carter's decision to try to get back to the NHL was not made by him, rather for him by external circumstance.

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Down on the Farm: Iowa Mounts Postseason Push

After enduring three difficult seasons in Des Moines, Minnesota's AHL team is in the mix for a playoff spot,

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- On one level, the Iowa Wild's mid-season surge into playoff contention can be explained simply. 

On Nov. 16, the Wild's goals-against average was 3.79 and ranked 28th in the American Hockey League. At that point, Wild coaches, players and fans began wondering if this season would be much like the past three.

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Down on the Farm: Cancer Fight Hits Close for Anas

Demetra Anas has fought -- and beaten -- breast cancer twice while balancing work and being a hockey mom

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

Mothers and sons have special moments.

Demetra Anas, mother of Iowa Wild rookie forward Sam Anas, remembers the time she taped her toddler son's use of a hockey stick for the first time; he hit a ball straight as an arrow across the kitchen floor. She also clearly remembers the time she almost drove off the road when Sam disclosed he had figured out a secret that his mother had kept from him for years.

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Down on the Farm: Lalonde Reflects on AHL First Half

With Iowa enjoying the All-Star break, Wild.com checks in with Derek Lalonde to see how things are going in Des Moines

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers chats with first-year Iowa Wild coach Derek Lalonde about a number of topics, including his first half season Des Moines, Iowa's winning ways away from home and Alex Tuch playing in the AHL All-Star Game: 

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Down on the Farm: Carlson Helped Mold Iowa Players

Cedar Rapids coach laid groundwork for several Iowa Wild players in USHL

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- Ask Pat Cannone, Nick Saracino and Alex Stalock where they took their first big steps toward becoming a professional hockey player. Their answers are, perhaps surprisingly, the same.

Not somewhere in Minnesota, Europe or Canada, but the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League with their long-time coach Mark Carlson is where the three say they turned from kids playing hockey into young men playing hockey.

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