Hello again Wild fans. First and foremost, let me say Happy New Year to all and may 2010 bring you much success, happiness and playoff hockey.
Secondly, I wanted to thank all of you for your comments and questions following my first Owner’s Box blog a few weeks ago. It was great to hear from all of you and it is awesome to see the passion fans have for this team and the excitement about the direction it’s heading. I certainly share your enthusiasm.
Undoubtedly, the most popular topic that came through in the comment submissions was in regards to Minnesota getting the NHL Winter Classic. After watching yesterday’s fantastic game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers, I figured this would be the perfect time to chime in on the prospect of the Wild hosting it.
Like you, I want the Classic to come to Minnesota. In fact, I don’t think there is a player, coach, manager or employee in our organization that wouldn’t want to host the event.
Here in the State of Hockey, outdoor hockey is in our blood. Most NHL players who have come out of Minnesota honed their skills on outdoor rinks, and many of you fans did the same. I don’t think there could be a better spot for it. Now that we have two amazing new venues in Minneapolis that could host such a remarkable event, I’m confident it will come to the State of Hockey soon.
TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus and Target Field are the obvious possibilities to host the Classic. We have had ongoing talks with the management from both facilities as we consider such issues as seating capacity, rink location and other regulations.
Ultimately, it will be the National Hockey League that decides what city and what venue will host the game, but I know the state of Minnesota wowed the League brass six years ago when it hosted the NHL All Star Weekend.
What I can tell you is that we are doing our due diligence in trying to get the event here at some point. There are also several other markets that are trying to secure the game. All of the Canadian markets would make great hosts, and New York and Denver are also in hot pursuit. As you may have heard, the popularity of the Classic has caused the NHL to consider hosting two games next year – one in the United States and one in Canada.
Many of you also asked who our opponent might be. As far as I’m concerned, I just want to get the game here, but certainly a game of that magnitude is going to have to feature a marquee opponent. We’ll just have to wait patiently and see. The 2011 game will likely be announced this spring. If we don’t get it that year, sit tight. I can promise that we will do whatever we can to get the game the following year.
I’ll blog again soon about another topic. Until then, Happy New Year, and Go Wild!