Derek Boogaard, Mark Parrish, Mike Greenlay and Dan Terhaar
|Derek Boogaard showed his sniper side during the shot accuracy competition at the Mankato Super Stop. |
It is with mixed emotions that I write the final installment of the Leg One Wild.com recap. Yes, I am still glowing after two more mind-blowing stops, but I'm a bit weepy when I think that our days of riding on a limo bus, wearing matching polo shirts and gorging on delicious food are at an end.
I have to say that the tone for Day Three was actually set the night before in downtown Mankato, where we enjoyed a delicious meal at Sidelines and watched the Twins win an extra-inning thriller. I was a bit embarrassed when Parrish started high stepping around the restaurant and woofing like Arsenio Hall fans after Jeff Cirillo's bloop single scored the winning run. Okay, that didn't really happen, but he, and all of us, were excited for the hometown team.
The morning came very quickly, but sleep was not on the agenda. There were interviews to give at KTOE in Mankato (how clever is that name for a Mankato radio station?). The guys did a couple interviews, including Parrish's with a former classmate, who had a Bloomington Jefferson yearbook. Unfortunately, Wild.com was unable to obtain a photo of Parry's yearbook headshot.
It was off to the Mankato Super Stop outside All Seasons Arena, and this one was a beauty. Speaking of beauties, Kevin Falness was on hand to host his Road Tour Unplugged show. That was followed by an autograph session, and then a Skills Competition. Boogaard defeated Parrish by a score of 21 to 5, but it was a little unfair. The guys have to shoot from about 15 feet out and we all know that Parrish's goals come from no further than three feet from the goal line.
Once again, we were on schedule and we decided to head to New Prague, where we enjoyed a final meal together at Classics. Only a few tears were shed, mostly by Greenlay, who is all about other people buying his meals.
We made our way to Memorial Park and we were astounded by what we saw. The line was at least 400 people deep! It was our biggest crowd, and I didn't think any town would outdraw Waseca. Never underestimate the people of New Prague, I guess. That's the lesson learned on Wednesday.
The guys faced a daunting challenge to get through everybody in line, but they did, even staying an extra 15 minutes to make sure everyone went home happy. Oh, I got stung by a bee as I was handing out free golf balls, and nobody seemed to care. What if I was allergic and started swelling up like a blowfish? They probably would have kept right on signing.
Our final stop was finished, and we went out on a high note. On the way home, we recounted some of the best stories from our three days together. Then we shared a group hug.
On behalf of everybody on the tallest and heaviest Road Tour leg in Wild history, thank you to everyone who helped promote, host and support youth hockey on the trip. And a huge thanks to all the fans who came out, braving the hot sunshine and long lines to support your Minnesota Wild!
We've got the Road Tour Bash in Rice Park tomorrow night, and I know the guys are excited about it. We hope to see everybody out there!Leg Two
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Stephane Veilleux, Mike Ramsey and Brad Bombardir
|Mike Ramsey works on getting his yo-yo to sleep as Butch watches intently. |
We opened our eyes to see another beautiful day in northern Minnesota. Jim took the bus into town to try and fix the air conditioning but returned at 11:15 with no luck. Bouchard and Veilleux played tennis this morning (Veilleux claimed victory) while I joined Bombardir and Ramsey for an early round of golf at Deacon’s Lodge. What a beautiful course! Unfortunately my golf bag no longer has any golf balls in it. I couldn’t finish the 18th hole as I emptied my bag on the tee box spraying balls short and into the weeds. I am going to quit golf for the summer I think. Ramsey finished par-par, the first time he has ever pared the 17th and 18th holes on the course he said. Rammer actually had a great chance for birdie on the final hole but his attempt came up short. Bombardir proved to be the superior player and had a solid round. He is Mr. Consistency on the golf course. I have never heard someone complain so much about hitting the ball of the toe of his club and then watch as his ball lands safely on the green. By the way, today Brad and his wife, Heather, are celebrating their 10th anniversary - congratulations to them and their three beautiful children.
Over 150 people gathered at our Pequot Lakes stop at The Deck at Breezy Point including a number of youngsters sporting their local team’s hockey jerseys. We even had two newspapers and a radio station attend and visit with our celebrities. The good times just keep on rolling.
It was almost cold sitting under the tent with a little breeze coming off the lake, which was a welcome change to the warm sunshine we have been under the last two days. Our Pequot Lakes stop officially ended with Ramsey trying to get a Wells Fargo yo-yo to “sleep”, but he wasn’t able to get the yo-yo to cooperate and off we went. We stopped for lunch at Grizzly’s in Brainerd and Bouchard had to have some ice cream for dessert so we stopped next door at Cold Stone Creamery before departing for our final stop in Alexandria. Thankfully the sun is still hiding so we are nice and comfy inside our bus. Joelle Nelson is the first person to fall asleep following lunch beating Bouchard surprisingly.
We arrived in Alexandria a few minutes after 4:00 p.m. and saw another long line waiting for us. The stop in Alexandria started out with a bang unfortunately as the drivers of two cars were so excited to get in line for an autograph that they failed to obey the rules of the road and ended up running into each other. Over 200 folks received autographs as we stayed at the parking lot outside of the Wells Fargo until 5:30 p.m. The Echo Press and the CBS affiliate from Fargo/Moorhead, KX40, made the 100-mile drive to cover our visit to Alexandria. We headed home and had a somewhat scary moment as one of our back tires started to lose its tread, but after pulling over and checking things out Jim reassured us we have nothing to worry about as the tires have a steel tread. Sure enough, we safely pulled into St. Paul at 8:50.
We had a great time on the road this year and would like to thank all our supporters and friends at each stop for putting on such great events! Thanks also to Jim the bus driver for his expert navigating. We look forward to seeing you Thursday starting at 5:00 p.m. at Rice Park for the second annual “Summer Bash”.
Pierre-Marc, Stephane, Brad, Mike, Joelle and AaronLeg Three
Brent Burns, Josh Harding, Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid
Hello Road Tour fans, you get one guess where Day 3 on Leg 3 started…if you guessed McDonald’s then you’re right! As the menu again took a hit, we hit the road from South Sioux City to New Ulm. Since Minnesota has a season of road construction it took us a bit to get to New Ulm. Of course coming into town we had to take a peek at Herman the German especially since our Canadian hockey players didn’t believe our native Minnesotans that Herman actually existed. We were happy to see Herman but then we decided to take a tour of some neighborhoods, by accident. Yes the traveling party was a tad lost before arriving at the New Ulm Civic Center. The youth hockey association met us in the parking lot and mentioned there were a few youth hockey players and fans there. The minute Brent Burns and Josh Harding opened the doors to the Civic Center, the crowd roared, clapped and cheered! All had been waiting patiently and in a straight line. Even the amount of hot dogs consumed was unbelievable and there was even a threat of running out. The Youth hockey association had to run out to get back-ups just in case. It was just a great stop from start to finish. After roughly 300+ autographs and a longer than planned stop we didn’t exactly have time to hit lunch so Subway was the way to go. Josh and Brent decided to have a contest to see who could outdo each other with the amount of food they could eat. It was 3PM and Brent said he was going to eat his arm so he had to be hungry.
A quick ride across beautiful farm country we landed in Hutchinson. Again a large crowd cheered when the traveling party pulled up in our Eclipse bus. The parking lot at the Wells Fargo in downtown Hutch was full and Brent and Josh jumped into their nicely labeled seats and the event began. The weather was unbelievable. We couldn’t have asked for a better day with low humidity and lots of sun. Many Wild fans passed through the line and the Wells Fargo folks treated the entire party very well. The event went a little over its scheduled time but Brent and Josh were super troopers. We won’t mention the Sharpie tattoos the two exchanged after almost every autograph. Hutch hockey had an accuracy shot game set up where Brent and Josh went head-to-head with raffle winners. Josh shot pretty well for a goal tender who is used to stopping the puck! Hutchinson was yet another extremely successful stop on the Wild Road Tour. After Hutchinson it was east to St. Paul, as our final destination until the Summer Bash event tomorrow evening.
The leg 3 traveling party thanks you for all of the support we received along our 4 state journey and thank you for following along.
Sincerely – your Leg 3 Traveling Party,
Brent Burns, Josh Harding, Tom Reid, Bob Kurtz, Emily Gausman and Maggie Kukar